The Other 99%

By Mike / On / In Knowledge

One of the problems the Occupy movement faces is the fact that most of the “other 99%” of Americans typically fall well within the 1% by world standards. I think the only way to reconcile this is to press for change not just for the first world, but for the whole world.

The same group of unindicted criminals who used junk securities to steal pensions from American workers after shipping their jobs overseas also stole pensions in countries like Greece and used offshoring in countries like China to set working conditions back a hundred years.

As I listened to This American Life’s excerpt of Mike Daisy’s investigation on conditions at Foxconn and others’ factories, I couldn’t help but wonder why this was specifically marketed as an Apple problem when the same factories are churning out goods for Apple’s competitors.

Ten years ago it would have been expressed as a Dell problem or a Gateway problem, and the Apple faithful would have felt a certain unjustified smugness. Now Dell is an also ran and Gateway is a footnote. The Apple folks are in control, which makes that smugness difficult.

We are in an uncomfortable position when our favorite electronics company is called out by name, but we need to see it not as an attack, but as an opportunity. We could easily miss that opportunity by taking refuge in the fact that every other brand’s manufacturing stories are just as bad.

We could do that, if we are ready to admit that Think Different was nothing more than a marketing campaign. But I ask you, when was the last time we allowed ourselves to be “just as bad” as the next guy? We have always, and should always, demand more from Apple.

When we hold Apple’s products to be the best on the market, we point at their usability and the impact it has on our experience. We point to their durability and the impact it has on our environment. Should we not expect to point to their manufacture and the impact it has on our humanity?