Should we feel bad about working conditions at FoxConn?

Lost in the uproar over Mike Daisey’s significant fabrications about Chinese working conditions is what Ira Glass calls the “normative question underlying all the reporting… as somebody who owns these products, should I feel bad?” As I’ve stated before — and as the New York Times’ own investigative report showed — the story about working conditions at Apple suppliers is essentially true. The question we have to ask ourselves is whether any of this is acceptable, keeping in mind that, a century ago, working conditions in America were equally if not more harsh. Let me view this whole episode through the lens of another product that’s just as valuable to New Yorkers as smartphones: the subway system. Continue reading