Monday, September 29, 2014

iPhone 6, iSlave, and Made in the USA: A Rant

The Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County offers ethical reasons
why consumers should not purchase Apple's iPhone 6.
I was recently doing something that no sane individual should ever do before a first cup of coffee: I was reading posts by online commentators.

Specifically, I was reading comments on an image posted on Facebook by US Uncut.   The image is a mash-up that includes children working in a mine, a woman working in a factory in China, and an image of the modified iconic iPhone dancers with the title, "iSlave." Under the images, the caption reads, "Apple's iPhone6: raw materials mined by Congolese child slaves, shipped to China for assembly by indentured workers who commit suicide jumping from factory windows, and sold by US retail employees getting poverty wages."  Although it was uncited, the original seems to have originated with The Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County, who have also added the comment, "For a company that prides itself on innovation, Apple's supply chain resembles the 18th century triangle trade. *Also, let's not forget Apple dodges billions in taxes and illegally colluded to suppress the salaries of their engineers and programmers."

Setting that aside for now, I have to mention that even more specifically, I was drawn to a comment posted by Ryan Dailey, which, in its entirety (sans offensive swearwords marked with dashes) reads as follows:

 I honestly find it hard to believe that americans are ignorant to the fact that china is a communist country... They own three trillion in US debt and they can crush our economy at any time, nevermind that is the reason we are in such bad shape anyway. What happens when you give your neighbor all your money? Your house falls apart while your neighbor thrives. We buy everything from china, of course their "economy" is booming while ours crumbles, you can't just ship all your money out, you have to keep it in your economy... Nevermind all military is technology based and you won't find a factory in north america. If we do go to war with china does anyone honestly believe they will keep selling us the things we need to fight them. Haha, we dont even have the machines to make the machines to make the products anymore, we sent them all overseas. Tell me I'm wrong or crazy. Honestly I'm terrified. The time will come, we are outnumbered, our economy is trashed, we lack the resources to be self sustaining and our civil liberties would be the greatest factor in undoing us, remember communism people? Look it up again, now check the facts for yourself. Want to buy an american tv? a microwave? A cellphone? Toys for your kids? Well you won't find any outside 20 year old goodwill models. Buy china, replace often, don't get an option to buy anything made at home because we don't and can't and people are out of work. Detroit is what we really are. I'm not exaggerating or fear mongering. We need to so something. All we manufacture is entertainment and drugs. Who the - are we? How could we be so proud? I'm - terrified, will you be ever satisfied? 

Why was I drawn to Mr. Dailey's comment, you may be wondering? I was drawn to this comment for three reasons.  First, it was in the middle of my screen, and my eyes caught it. Second, at first I could not figure out how the comment related to the image, which made me curious.  Then I realized that the comment, in a roundabout way, expresses a wish to know what a person might buy instead of an Apple product. Lastly, I found Mr. Dailey's comment  lacking in research and sound logic, and I wanted to analyze it.  He backs up none of his claims.  For example, saying that "that is the reason we are in such bad shape anyway," is a bit off the mark, as there certainly is not just one reason "we are in such bad shape."  The "that" is certainly much more complicated than having our debt held by China, and the "that" is particularly vague, to boot.  Yet, although he doesn't offer any facts, he does challenge his readers to "check the facts for yourself," and he follows with a list of items that he claims are no longer made in the USA.  He mentions televisions, microwave ovens, cell phones, and toys.

As it may take me some time to intelligently respond to Mr. Dailey's entire comment, I can begin in this post to address his concerns about these four items, at least.

First, please be aware that Element Electronics makes televisions in the USA. Dacor makes microwaves.  David A. Mellis can show you how to make your own cell phone, and you can easily find handmade toys made by Americans on Etsy.

But have I digressed?

Isn't this supposed to be about Apple?  Well, in the words of Ryan Dailey, "check the facts for yourself."

Check out this infographic called "Apple Around the World" posted by Alex Hillsberg on the Finances Online Web site.  It may not address all of a consumer's concerns about buying Apple products, and it may even make a person feel worse about doing so, but it is certainly less biased and more comprehensive than "iSlave" iconography.

Check out this article called "If Apple Brought iPhone Manufacturing To The US It Would Cost Them $4.2 billion" by Tim Worstall on the Forbes Web site.

Check out this article called "CHART OF THE DAY: A Full Cost Breakdown Of Apple's New iPhones" by Dave Smith on the Business Insider Web site.

Check out everything you can find to check out about this issue and any other issue that is important to you believe unsubstantiated sound bytes delivered via Facebook and complicated by illogical and unsupported comments.  Seriously.  And if you want to bring manufacturing back to the USA, pick up a knitting machine and go sell bikinis on the beach instead of ranting on Facebook.

That is all.

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