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Interdependent Consumption: Apple & Human Rights
Submitted by Patrick Groneman on Thu, 3/15/2012, 1:12pm
Tomorrow, on the same day that customers can expect an around-the-block line for the new iPad 3, social change-makers will be demonstration at the Apple store on Fifth avenue, demanding a response to growing public awareness of the workers abuse in their supplier factories.
The topic of Apple Computers' co-emergent qualities of pristine aesthetic beauty, it's ruthless, visionary founder (who also happened to read a lot about Buddhism), and Apple's reliance on unsavory manufacturing practices are no stranger to the IDP Blog. As a company, they are a frequent topic of contemplation for our community of Interdependent-minded consumers.
On one hand, Apple represents the most brutal side of capitalism. They create resource-heavy products that, through rapid innovation, marketing, and cultural neurosis, become either physically or culturally obsolete within a year or two from the date of purchase. They require significant capital to access, and as is becoming more public of late, the process of manufacturing them has required brutal working conditions and environmental exploitation.
On the other hand, Apple's focus on user-experience has simplified bringing the most cutting edge technology into the hands of the most techno-phobic consumers. Their emphasis on beauty, a "Holistic" (pardon the usage) sense of device inter-operability, and understanding what works and what doesn't in this age of toxic capitalism, has created a sort of pseudo-spiritual techno-cult of brand-loyal followers. They've helped foster a culture of social connectivity unlike anything our species has experienced before, and are key contributors to the social media revolution(s).
And, in the spirit of full disclosure, I'm composing this blog post on a Mac Book Pro. I bought it last year because I'd had a mac before, was used to the interface, and appreciate the simplicity of design and emphasis on usability.
But am I just feeding this toxic habit of consumerism?
J. Krishanmurti once said:
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
Is someone who is wildly successful in a toxic market a genius, or just the sickest of the sick? Is Steve Jobs hailed as a genius because he made us think that we are Sane for doing something that is actually IN-sane? Are companies like IBM, Microsoft and Sony, just as ruthless, but not as aesthetically pleasing or sensational in presentation?
The questions are complex, and the contemplation continues.
More info about tomorrow's action at the Apple store available here.
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