Chances are you own something that was made by Foxconn. The Chinese company is famous for making Apple products, but it should be noted that they also have many additional customers, including Nintendo. The way Foxconn operates is by building what’s effectively a small city around an incredibly large factory. This city has apartments, cafeterias, movie theaters, gyms, basically everything one would need to live. Some of you might think that’s crazy, so we suggest you crack open a history textbook and read about Pullman, Illinois. But back to Foxconn, you simply can’t build a city and not expect people to be people. Some employees get depressed and kill themselves, some get greedy and steal things, some are workaholics and die due to exhaustion. All these things happen in regular cities all across the world, but when it happens in a Foxconn city it’s headline worthy.
The most recent shit storm occurred earlier this week. Accord to Cult of Mac, there was a riot in one of Foxconn’s cities in Chengdu, China. Over 1,000 employees took part. They were throwing trash cans and chairs at security guards because it’s believed someone held a grudge against someone else who was robbed. Again, petty crime happens in a factory that employs over half a million people in much the same way that petty crime happens in a city with over half a million residents.
Will this incident have any impact on your next gadget purchase? Probably not. You’ll just keep on buying one new shiny toy after another. What will eventually happen though is that Chinese labor laws will catch up to what we have in the West, and then the cost of your next smartphone or tablet will be astronomically high.
Maybe then we can start curbing consumption and live greener lives?