Friday, August 18, 2006

Workers who make iPods can't afford to buy one.

Apple invetigates accusations of forced labor at their iPod manufacturing locations and publicizes that they found no such thing. However, buried int he article is this little passage
"The probe found the workers assembling iPods were paid at least the minimum wage, with more than half earning more than minimum wage, excluding bonuses. Minimum wage for Shenzhen in southern China, where the factory is thought to be located, is about 800 yuan ($100) a month."

No, I don't have an iPod but I have great admration for Apple. Here's my issue... On the whole, the people who use Apple products or are iPod afficianados are, in general, the types of people who think they are "counter-culture", or free-thinking individualists fighting against the "mainstream".

Look at how Apple has positioned their brand for the past 2 decades.. going all the way back to the famous "1984" commercial for Macintosh. It implied that if you use a PC, you are part of Big Brother, the establishment. Their current campaign for their computers shows a hip, trendy, cool dude (a liberal)representing the Mac and a stuffy, boring guy in a suit and tie (conservative) as representing the PC. And, of course, the iPod commercials feature hip music and dancing and position the brand as something to appeal to young, hip and creative types.

What's the point? Well, clearly, the demographic of people most likely to buy Apple products is close to the demographics of those who are most likely to listen to Air America, Blog for Howard Dean and maybe even protest the World Trade Organization. So when do they start boycotting Apple products for utilizing this kind of labor to make their products?

Look at me... I'm holding my breath!


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