This has nothing to do with atheism, or religion, except for the cult-like character of Apple devotees.

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I remember when Apple was the iconoclast, an almost countercultural approach to technology.  Apple marketed themselves as the "alternative", and much of the good feeling that people have today about the company, continues from those roots.

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Apple itself used that panache in their commercials.

Then, Apple became a near-cult.  Their "not-Microsoft" über-coolness, their stylish still-somewhat countercultural persona, and excellent products, lead to people lining up for each product release like catholics at the visits of the pope.  I know Apple addicts (and live with one) who are all-forgiving, and all-justifying when there is any report of Apple being maybe not-so-cool

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Now, with stories of slave-like working conditions in China and profits more than Exxon, and strong-arming customers and other companies with contracts that exploit Apple's dominance and addict them to Apple-ism, Apple has grown up. apple is no more "cool", no more "counter-cultural", no more "alternative" than IBM, Exxon, BP, or Microsoft. 

 

I admit, I've never bought into the Apple "coolness" thing, and find it kind of annoying, so I'm far from unbiased.  But I think it's time for everyone to regard the company as no different from any other mega-corp that abuses the environment and its workers.

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My 2 cents.

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I saw the piece about Foxcomm and Apple on CBS Sunday Morning this morning and found it disturbing, to put it mildly. Fact is, though, I suspect that a great deal of the consumer electronics we use today are a product of the same kinds of manufacturing practices and resulting human abuses.

It may be well said that the current demand for such devices is at least one cause for the current situation at Foxcomm and elsewhere, but what is the solution? I'm dubious that the Chinese will yield to external demands to improve worker conditions, as they are notorious for claiming "internal matters" anytime such charges arise. I also don't see the average American not replacing their smart phones every two or so years or moving away from the evolving phone technology market.

So who bells the cat?

You are right.  I bought a Kindle Fire instead of an I-Pad, partly due to not liking apple, and partle because my main use for it is reading books.  I suspect that it is made using the same practices, however, so no lives were saved by that decision.  If I have a point, it's my dismay that the company that was so much into "fighting against them machine" may well be more "machine" than the competition.  We can continue buying their products, I guess, but we need to know what we are doing, and forget the "hipness" factor - Apple is far from hip.  Whatever hip is.

Well, Apple was supposedly the first with a GUI operating system ... except that they bought the O/S from Xerox. Certainly they have thought ahead as it comes to HMI (Human Machine Interface), but looking at the market these days, they can hardly be said to be alone in their efforts.

What would be lovely in the future would be for hipness to be associated both with human-friendly and environment-friendly business and manufacturing practices. I would genuinely love to see that become the next major thrust in consumer marketing of ANY kind of product. The problem is that it will require some serious rethink on the part of a LOT of corporate executives ... and I for one am NOT holding my breath.

xerox

toner based hell

It is hard to believe anyone could be shocked by this "revelation". I entire range of goods is supported by what would be called "relative slave labour". It is typical for people to act shocked at these types of things. the real frauds are the typical naive individuals who walk around believing that there entire unsustainable lifestyle is not supported by the slavery of other humans and creatures....I assume most of these hypocrites eat meat and also buy the cheap goods on offer from slave labour.....As for apple I actually like the BSD based OS and find the build quality quite good, But I would not kid my self that I am doing anyone any favours by buying a new one. I mostly by old IT gear and recycle it ( reuse is the best form of recycling). Any one who really feels shocked by this sort of info should make some major life changes...

1. become Vegan

2. use as little fuel as you can ( no SUV's)

3. Use second hand computer gear (unless the running cost to the environment outweighs the true production cost of a more efficient new item)

4. Use GNU type software when possible or BSD when you need flexibility

5. Do not over consume

6. Denounce the demonisation of other countries.....Down with nationalism ( yes thats you USA)

7. I have not got all night damm it ......at least do all the above...

indeed
it's foxconn
they got no balls to get shit in check obviously
wait n see approach indeed

The PRC isn't exactly interested in individual rights, Mr. M.  Add to that pressure from peers and employers and you don't have a pretty picture.  That the company put out nets to deal with the attempted suicides rather than deal with the work conditions tells me that Foxconn is more interested in easy fixes and maintaining their production quotas than in employee welfare.

I suspect that most of the employees in these jobs have little choice in employment options.  The jobs are low pay and long hours, but they are still jobs, they result in a place to live and meals.  Meanwhile, by contracting to companies that have incredibly cheap, incredibly productive labor, under harsh conditions, long hours and no chance to have human needs met like having a chance to relax and unwind, Apple is able to both provide inexpensive products to the market, and reap incredible profits, more than Exxon.  By contracting out, they have deniability but still benefit from the cheap labor, and they can scorn the American worker, which some Apple spokespeople have done.  In addition to being in poverty, with no medical benefits and no other safety net, Chinese are still raised to respect and obey authority.  The American luxury of being able to quit a job and find greener pastures does not translate easily into Chinese culture.  It doesn't work as well as it used to in the US, either.  But still much easier here, than there.  

Another link about Apple's labor attitudes and practices....

...Apple's brass believes the American worker, besides earning too much money for his or her labor, just doesn't possess "the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers.... with their 34-hour shifts and 12-foot by 12-foot dormitories, and their skill at sliding into coffin-sized beds at night.


NY Times  

Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that “Made in the U.S.A.” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.

...Last year, it earned over $400,000 in profit per employee....


Between a rock and a hard place,

I would guess it would also have something to do with family pressure. Even a piss poor wage is still more money than nothing, and with a population like China has, jobs dont grow on trees.

Slave labour tactics invokes pride complexes and depression, depression and low self esteem leads to suicide.

Mr.M - you are seriously Naive...you must be american (intentional lower case)

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