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Apple and Ethics; What is an iPhone Worth? Part 1

In the first of a four part examination, I look at the ethics behind corporate America sending jobs around the world.

One of the biggest things being debated by Romney and Obama this election is how to return the economy to a positive state of growth. A major talking point has been manufacturing, and its ever-evolving role both here and internationally. While plenty of good questions have been asked, there's a key one that no one seems to want to bring up. Namely, why do we talk about the issue of outsourcing in terms of numbers and not how these companies are taking advantage of barbaric labor laws still found in the rest of the world?

The name "Foxconn" probably doesn't set anyone's neurons firing, but they are the world's largest contract-based electronics manufacturer. Companies like Apple, Samsung, Sony, Amazon, and many more charge Foxconn with the task of producing their multi-million dollar selling devices we all can't live without. From Kindles to iPhones, Foxconn makes it all and most of us don't know they exist.

Over the past year or so, China-based Foxconn has been popping up in the news for all the wrong reasons. CNET, IGN, and The New York Times have all reported on multiple suicides, riots, and most recently the discovery that the company has been utilizing underage laborers in their mammoth factories. By mammoth, I mean facilities that house 79,000 plus workers on any given day. Pretty grizzly stuff, even from a country like China with its infamously poor track record when it comes to human rights.

But that’s the thing; we’re to believe that Apple and Amazon are clueless to the cruelties of the Chinese workplace? Your average American is well aware of the history of brutality and tortuous conditions the Chinese government allows to fester in its workplaces. Yet here are some of the biggest companies in the world happily sending their wares to be mass-produced in Foxconn’s enormous Chinese factories. The futurists at Apple aren’t prescient enough to determine that labor conditions in a Chinese factory would more than likely be poor? Absurd, of course, but it doesn’t end there.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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