Congratulations, Steve. Your company is number one. You made it past the Googleplex not with a bullet but with a few leaps. People everywhere are queuing and occasionally brawling for your products. You’ve been targeted by both Futurama and South Park for satire, putting you up there with Kim Jong Il.
Not that you are anything close to his level of megalomania but there is a cult of personality about you. I think you should take the moment and run for office. I want to see you debate Trump because your bibelots are made in ‘evil motherfucking China’*. And his whole spiel about running a successful business would be as wispy as his comb-over in the gusts of Apple’s explosive growth. But you both depend on some baser human emotions – jealousy and egotism – for success. And doubtless Trump admires deep in his wizened heart your Houdini worthy misdirections as you shove the lumbering elephant of factory conditions off the stage while distracting all with shiny screens.
I don’t begrudge you success and I think your company should profit – upping the lusty cycle of keeping-up-with-Joneses to rabid levels while making wonderfully designed products is a nice trick. You had people tour the Foxconn factories and wages raised pretty significantly (up to a few hundred $US/month), but being a magician, you know when it’s all smoke and mirrors. Those staggering profits – up 95% – continue to come because your suppliers mistreat their workers and you know it. This recent bit in Think Progress reveals that conditions haven’t changed.
To be fair, these are typical conditions in China and many want these jobs for many reasons (like I mentioned here in my first Paltry post). Like so many national laws, the 36 hour monthly limit on overtime is flouted openly at all levels. My colleagues put in equal hours of work and overtime when it’s busy. At least for the factory workers more time usually means more money. The living conditions, too, are probably fairly standard. University dorms may have 10 bunks and communal bathrooms and people pay for that. And drudgery work and realising that your dreams will not come are depressing as hell and sometimes money isn’t enough.
These don’t let you off the hook, though, Steve. Yes, unlike Google, you rely on physical products requiring manual labour, but surely you could direct a fraction of those profits to the people who really made them possible and have Foxconn improve working conditions. 10% of profits as a salary increase may cause the main stockholders and financial kingpins to choke a bit, but do you really want to please these cannibals? Google may trumpet its slogan of doing no evil, but how about doing some good, Steve? You are able to slip chains so easily, how about letting your factory workers do the same?
*quotes added for clarity.