Before you buy another IPhone, or any IPhone if you are a first purchaser, read this article about almost a dozen suicides at the company in China that makes IPhones. The article is dated September 9, 2010, and the horror it describes happened in August 2010, but this is the first I’ve heard of it. And the only reason I heard about it now is because I am on TechRepublic‘s mailing list. The company’s initial public response to the events of August 2010 was, in the words of the author of the TechRepublic piece, “perhaps the most shocking, reactionary corporate act” I have ever heard about (the even earlier internal responses were equally shocking). The company has now responded more appropriately, but it’s still shocking because, as Toni Bowers writes:
Now, here’s where I get cynical. Why was the public relations strategy needed? Because Foxconn’s partners–Apple, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft–might try to distance themselves from Foxconn in light of the suicides? And by “distance” I mean take their business elsewhere? Absolutely.
Obviously, one of the takeaways from this story is that it’s almost certainly not limited to this one company, in China or in any other of the many countries that provide dirt cheap labor for U.S. corporations. What am I suggesting? I’m suggesting that you think about it. What conclusions you reach after that are up to you.