Scandals about the conditions in which people who work in third world countries are frequent. The latest scandal claims Apple exhausts the workers who make its products in China and uses (indirectly) child labour to work in dangerous mines in Indonesia. When the BBC made a programme about these thing Apple circulated its UK staff with words which included
As you know, Apple is dedicated to the advancement of human rights and equality around the world. We are honest about the challenges we face and we work hard to make sure that people who make our products are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Last night, the BBC’s Panorama program called those values into question. Like many of you, Tim and I were deeply offended by the suggestion that Apple would break a promise to the workers in our supply chain or mislead our customers in any way.
Of course Apple is not dedicated to the advancement of human rights; it is dedicated to making a profit. there is nothing wring with being dedicated to making a profit per se, but there is everything wring with pretending to be dedicated to the advancement of human rights when you are dedicated to making a profit. The wrong is described variously – as hypocrisy or dishonesty.
If we want to see who is right and who is wrong we simply have to follow the money.
However wrong Apple may be ultimately it is Apple’s customers, which I assume comprise most of us in these islands, who will only buy their products f the price at which they are sold is relatively low and the way that Apple’s business is organised with the executives earning big money rather than the workers who put the products together earning reasonable wages, the price is mainly fixed by us, and it is us you permit Apple to use quasi slave labour by buying their products.