Consumers Can Make the Change: Vote With Your Dollars

“That would require someone to care. That would require someone at Fox Conn and the other suppliers to care. That would require someone at Apple and Dell and the other customers to care. Currently, no one in the ecosystem cares enough to even enforce that.” (35:33)

Here, Mr. Daisey discusses the factory workers who are disabled after years of monotonous, repetitive work.  He points out that the factory workers will continue to endure these terrible conditions if no one steps up to fight them. So whose responsibility is it? Which party should step in to fix these working conditions? As a human being, I want to say that every person involved – Apple executives, Fox Conn Managers, Apple consumers – should feel responsible. Ultimately, the decision makers at Fox Conn are the only people who can make the change. However, this change can result from a domino effect, starting with the consumer.

Fox Conn has a responsibility to its employees to provide safe working conditions. Unfortunately, in a location where the workers have very little other employment options, Fox Conn holds far more power than it should. They are able to exploit their workers and force them into unsafe conditions because the workers are simply working to stay out of poverty. (Or really, they are most likely still in poverty. They are simply working to stay on the better end of it.)

Many argue that Apple, as well as Dell and the other technology companies, should be responsible for the working conditions of the Fox Conn workers. However, these are Fox Conn workers. While Apple contracts this company to manufacture products, Apple is not actually employing these Chinese workers. Legally, Apple is not responsible for these workers according to the contracts that each of these parties hold.

The consumers, on the other hand, hold the power in terms of social responsibility. Consumers can and should voice their opinions by spending their money on the companies that they support. Customers can show Apple that this behavior is unacceptable. As a result, Apple can voice this concern to Fox Conn, threaten to take business elsewhere, and demand change. Without Apple’s business, Fox Conn would lose a significant amount of business and be forced to make changes.


3 thoughts on “Consumers Can Make the Change: Vote With Your Dollars

  1. I think your point of “vote with your dollars” is great. We, as the consumer, are the end of this business chain. If all the consumers realized the important and necessity of bring up the topic of labor working condition and give Apple enough pressure, there might be a chance the firms will work harder to improve. However, clearly it will not be the case. After the problem of oversea labors’ poor working condition has been released by the British press in 2010, despite the large amount of public pressure has been put to Apple and firms, the sale of Apple product has never been damaged at all. Ironically, after Apple claimed that multiple investigations have been done with teams, most of consumers even think Apple is more social responsible than other tech firms, and put more love to the brand later on. At least, we, as students studied this case in details, could have the chance to draw the right decision later on, if possible.

  2. I think you bring up some great points about consumers ultimately holding the power to change the way Apple makes its products, but I have trouble believing that this will ever become a reality. Too many people have fallen in love with their Apple products. Even if a consumer did make the switch from Apple to another technology company, how are they supposed to know if the other firm is doing anything differently from Apple? The other company may just not get as much negative attention about how they make their products. In order for anything to actually be changed, a significant amount of consumers would have to object to Apple’s products, which I just think is too unlikely to ever happen. This does not, however, mean that this should not happen. If consumers really wanted to make an impact, the opportunity is waiting for them.

  3. I enjoyed reading your blog and thought that your points regarding consumers being part of the solution in addition to companies were very strong. The only way the “legal” forms of worker abuse are going to be resolved is if we, the consumers, take action. Although you state that if Apple were to end their contract with Fox Conn it would be a devastating blow, in the grand scheme of things, Apple is only a small player in their operations. I think that some sort of pact created amongst all of the tech companies would be required in order to make the much-needed labor changes in Shenzhen and other similar cities.

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