Whether you know it or not, the people employed by Foxconn
, aka, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., have more than likely built something in your home. In fact, the computer or smartphone that you're using -- be it from Apple
(yes, the iPad
, HP or Dell -- to read these words was probably assembled by the hands of Foxconn workers; remote villagers that dedicate a few years of their lives (and typically 12 hours per day) to Foxconn's manufacturing cities. In return, Foxconn pays a relatively competitive wage that enables its workers to support distant relatives or eventually return to their interior province to purchase land or open up a local shop. So it's a bit startling to hear that five (5!) Foxconn workers at its Longhua plant have attempted suicide since March 11th; a facility that employs, feeds, and houses an estimated 300,000 workers. This is especially disturbing after the much publicized suicide of a Foxconn employee supposedly entrusted with an iPhone prototype
. Is our obsession with cheap gadgets from a consumer electronics industry preoccupied with secrecy, profit, and speed, creating the conditions where -- for some -- suicide is the only escape?