We all know the dollar cost of owning the new wonder tablet from Apple. It’s not cheap and for most of us it’s a real spending decision. But what is the human cost of such a device, especially one where demand has so much outstripped supply? In the Chinese electronics factory Foxconn, where the iPad is manufactured, 12 successful suicide attempts have occurred recently, with a further 4 unsuccessful attempts. According to internal sources, 30 further deaths have been avoided by counselling. Is something rotten in the state of Apple?
Glistening workshops and shiny new buildings can be a flimsy façade masking an old-fashioned-style sweatshop. Although Steve Jobs refuses to answer this accusation directly, perhaps the evidence speaks for itself. The factory employs over 300,000 workers, all of whom are forbidden to speak, even when on break. Reported weekly working hours exceed the theoretical maximum of 70, and the factory runs a near-militaristic regime to ensure that huge productivity demands are met.