Follow the Money

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.


4 Responses

  1. As I see it, big corporates like Apple can and do dominate markets so ethical competition stands little chance of survival. The only answer for ethical consumers is to ‘do without’.

    This approach was common in the UK after the 2nd world war. For obvious reasons. Present generations have no idea about ‘doing without.’ They have the gadgets on monthly payments so no need to save, no need to ever ‘do without’

    All the big corporates exploit us in one way or another but whilst we are fickle consumers incapable of ‘doing without’ we will continue to exploit and be exploited.

    Incidentally, I have never had an apple product but everyone else in my family does. Sad isn’t it!

  2. This is a great insight, thanks for sparking some of my synapses ❤️

  3. Listen and learn and come together for a common need, not a want.

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