In much the same way that we'd rather not think about how the Big Macs we eat were produced, we also often ignore the manner in which our favorite gadgets are manufactured, because it's not as fun listening to tunes when you consider that the person who put together your DAP could be living like an indentured servant. And according to a recent report by the UK's Daily Mail entitled "iPod City," indentured servitude might not be a bad description of the working conditions inside the city-size Chinese factories that assemble the iPod nano and Shuffle, where the employees reportedly make about $50-a-month and live in crowded dormitories as thanks for working 15-hour days. It should be noted that even though the Mail story is supposedly based on first-hand reporting, their claim of 200,000 workers at one plant has been called into question, and at least one other factory owned by the same manufacturer has been certified by the International Labor Organization as free of human rights violations. While Apple certainly isn't the only device maker to outsource labor overseas, Wired points out that the company's tacit support of possibly-questionable working conditions is all the more ironic in the wake of its Think Different campaign, which featured the socially-conscious Gandhi and Caesar Chavez, among others. Unfortunately, our own lust for the latest and greatest products only helps fuel the vicious cycle that forces companies to drive down wages and seek the cheapest possible labor, so until we find a way to break our gadget addiction, we'll all be complicit in these practices to some degree.
Read- MacWorld summary of Daily Mail story [Thanks, Marc P.]
Read- Wired analysis [Via Slashdot]