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After listening to the pod cast it was definitely troubling to me to hear what workers have to go though in China so that we are able to have our smart phones and other devices. At the same time I’m not going to act like this is the first time I have heard this type of situation. For example there has been news of Nike having sweatshops for as long as I can remember and it hasn’t seemed to hurt them too much. Also, while I find the working conditions wrong I don’t think it is going to stop me from purchasing electronics and other products that are made this way. I think there are two major problems that are causing this.
The first problem is, like me, the majority of consumers see two things when purchasing a product. They see the product itself and a price. To keep this price low producers have to take advantage of other countries that have lower standards of living and working conditions. While there are some companies out there like Patagonia, who pride themselves on how their product are made, I think the market for these products is way too small for the majority of companies to join. Not saying that Americans are selfish, but if by buying products that are made under poor working conditions gives them a healthier life style they are going to do so. What I mean by a healthier lifestyle is the money the saved by buying the cheaper product. For example if there were two identical smartphones and one cost $50 more, but states that it was produced in a factory that has higher working standards than its competitor, I still don’t think it would convince to many people to buy it. When people are looking at smart phones they care about what features it has and not where it was made.
The second major problem and main problem in my mind with this situation is the living standards that are set by these foreign countries. I think a lot of companies make themselves feel better about the situation because they are able to say that they are giving the workers a higher standard of living than what the workers would normally have. From the pod cast we heard that there are over 400,000 workers at the factory. I think this shows that 400,000 people feel that working at the factory is better than other jobs they could get or not having a job at all. I mean it’s not like they are being held there and forced to work. Don’t get me wrong I don’t think that it is right to have 13 year old workers, or have people work 34 hours straight, but are these companies really the ones at fault here. While it might not be morally right to the average American, companies follow laws not moral obligations. If we want there to be change we need to change the laws and not press on them morality, especially when these moral obligations are only held by countries with higher living standards like the U.S.