Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Story Behind Our Stuff

I listened to a very interesting story on the This American Life Podcast yesterday that was put together by a die hard Mac fanboy who set off to answer a nagging question: where does it all come from (specifically iPhones and Mac products).  The quest lead him to do some investigative reporting on the ground in the center of China's largest consumer products producing city.  What he found as he looked into the lives of the people working in these large production companies shocked him.  I won't give the whole story away, rather I would urge readers of this blog to listen to the story and maybe come back here for some dialogue.

I am particularly interested in wrestling with what Christianity can offer this situation.  What bearing does living as kingdom people have in this situation?


greenturtle said...

I don't have time to listen to the entire podcast, but let me make sure I understand your question: Are you asking how Christians as a group can make a difference with this issue?

First, let me say that I vehemently oppose the offshoring of American jobs to foreign countries.

It is way beyond the scope of a blog comment to explain why; All I will say is, if you're not outraged by it, you're not paying attention.

The question is not "what's wrong with it?", the question is "what ISN'T wrong with it?"

And personally, I don't know any Christians who have much interest in the issue, if any at all.

Maybe because the vast majority of Christians are Republican, which is extremely pro corporate.

In fact some have tried to tell me "But think of the opportunity! We can bring JESUS to them!"

What a farce; Trust me, no corporation has any vested interest in bringing Jesus to anybody.

I guess if Christians as a group could offer anything, it would be to wake up and pay attention to what is going on. Take a stand against it. Otherwise, they're just part of the problem.

If that wasn't what you were asking, then please clarify.

Crispin Schroeder said...

I find myself very conflicted concerning the working conditions of those in China who produce the majority of our technology such as the computer I am typing on, my iPhone, and no doubt many more tech goods around the house. I wish it was simply a matter of blaming the big corporations for their greed but the reality is that this problem is much bigger than any one player. It involves the governments of China and America as well as the everyday people that own cell phones or laptops. Sure, I think the business climate in China encourages very bad conditions for people but would American consumers be willing to pay 3-4 times as much for our smart phones and iPads that come from such cheap labor?

greenturtle said...

It's a way to circumvent American labor laws, which were put in place for a reason.

Sure, people want cheaper goods.

But I question if the consumer is actually "getting what they pay for."

In other words, exactly how much of the cost savings is actually being passed on to us.

Take the call centers in India for example. Hard to understand, horrid customer service. But how much has it actually saved us on our cell phone bills, cable bills, internet bills, etc?

And the quality of the goods being made overseas. Much of it is junk.

If it falls apart within 5 minutes (and I'm not exaggerating, this has happened to me), have you really saved money?

Also, you can't afford to buy something no matter how cheap it is, if you don't have a job anymore.

I could go on. And I can't even answer my own question, "What isn't wrong with it?"

Someone in the military once asked me why I was so passionate about this issue. I said "Because I don't want the country that you are fighting for, to collapse."

I mean, we are handing over our economy to countries that REALLY don't like us. Sure they like our money and our jobs, but, they don't like us.

We're giving our power away, giving control of our ports away.

What isn't wrong with that?