I guess it was inevitable: In the wake of The New York Times expose on the horrifying working conditions for Apple-product factories, people are talking about a boycott. The LA Times, Forbes, Daily Beast, and other major media outlets are daring to ask the question, should we be boycotting Apple?
So far the boycott has been mostly talk. The only organized effort I've found so far is this Boycott Apple Facebook page. Any other efforts to boycott have been too small and under-the-radar to make much of a difference, yet. But for those of us who are deeply concerned about these working conditions, is a boycott even the best strategy?
It's not just Apple, after all. These are the same working conditions you'll find for just about any electronic product. They're all tainted with exploitation. So why focus on one brand?
Tim Worstall at Forbes doesn't even think conditions at Apple factories are really that bad. He used this graphic to illustrate his point. I guess. Except just because life is slightly less shitty for a Foxconn worker than it is for the average Chinese worker doesn't mean it isn't still tremendously shitty. Know what I mean?
You could come up with a number of other reasons why a boycott wouldn't work. It penalizes Chinese workers who could lose their jobs altogether. Or the boycott would never muster enough participants to make much of a dent in Apple's bottom line.
If Apple is such an industry leader, and we pressure them to make changes, then other electronics companies would follow. So the boycott would have less to do with making a personal statement and more to do with the big picture. And yet ... the biggest sticking point is one I'm embarrassed to admit: I just don't want to give up my iGadgets. And that could be what keeps us all in thrall despite the terrible reports.
If we write Apple as loyal customers, telling them we'd be willing to pay a little bit more for some humanity, do you think they would listen? That's something I'm willing to try.
Do you think we should boycott Apple?
Image via Boycott Apple/Facebook