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Mr Daisey and the Apple Factory

Please, please, please everyone I know and love, or have ever known, listen to this unbelievable and extremely profound episode of This American Life. An admitted Apple addict (as many of us are) goes so far as to visit the factory in China where his iPhone is made. What he discovers there goes a lot deeper than the recent awfulness on the news about the working conditions at Foxconn. It is about the basic nature of our connection to other human beings. You will not be prepared for what you hear.


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TAL's Retraction

Thanks, Anonymous, for pointing this out. It is all over the internet now that he did fabricate a significant part of his story.

However, it's too bad that more of Daisey's piece is not BS. The circumstances he describes were all based on facts, whether concerning isolated incidents, or generally harsh working conditions, which we would never tolerate in the US. It's too bad he felt the need to lie and embellish in order to convey his point. The truth of these people's suffering is bad enough as it is.

TAL's Press Release from their blog:

NPR's report on the fabrication:

An excerpt from Ira Glass's interview with NYTimes reporter Charles Duhigg on the factory conditions in Apple product manufacturing, from this week's TAL, dedicated entirely to Mike Daisey's fabrication, and this issue:

"Glass: But to get to the normative question that's kind of underlying all the reporting and all the discussion of this, I feel like the thing that we all want to know when we hear this is like, "Wait, should I feel bad about this?" You know what I mean? As somebody who owns these products, should I feel bad?

Duhigg: Ss, so, so it's not my job to tell you whether you should feel bad or not, right? I'm a reporter for the New York Times. My job is to find facts and essentially let you make a decision on your own. But let me pose the argument that people have posed to me about why you should feel bad, and you can make of it what you will. And that argument is there were times in this nation when we had harsh working conditions as part of our economic development. We decided as a nation that that was unacceptable. We passed laws in order to prevent those harsh working conditions from ever being inflicted on American workers again. And what has happened today is that rather than exporting that standard of life, which is within our capacity to do, we have exported harsh working conditions to another nation. So should you feel bad that someone is working 12 to 24 hours a day in order to produce the iPhone that you're carrying in your pocket—

Glass: Well, now like, when you say it like that, suddenly I feel bad again, but okay, yeah. [laughter]

Duhigg: I don't know whether you should feel bad, right? I mean—

Glass: But, but finish your thought.

Duhigg: Should you feel bad about that? I don't know, that's for you to judge, but I think the way to pose that question is: do you feel comfortable knowing that that iPhones and iPads and, and other products could be manufactured in less harsh conditions, but that these harsh conditions exist and perpetuate because of an economy that you are supporting with your dollars.

Glass: Right. I am the direct beneficiary of those harsh conditions.

Duhigg: You're not only the direct beneficiary; you are actually one of the reasons why it exists. If you made different choices, if you demanded different conditions, if you demanded that other people be, enjoy the same work protections that you ourself enjoy, then, then those conditions would be different overseas."

story retracted; apology to Apple sent

Mostly BS. TAL has officially retracted this story and apologized for falsified information in this show.


This was a really well done piece. Mr. Daisy is a great storyteller and connector of Human Hearts. Thanks for passing along Ciprian.

Thank you for sharing

Thank you for sharing this important story, Ciprian! May all beings everywhere be happy and free from hunger, thirst, and repetitive stress injuries.

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