Imagine life without computers and internet? Imagine going through your day without your smart phone? I bet you cringe at the thought of living without your trusted smartphone and its amazing apps that make your life so easy. They say that this generation is slave to technology and I agree, we depend so much on our gadgets from communication, to education to entertainment.
But do you know who the real slaves to technology are? The people who make our beloved smartphones. I recently watched this news report on Foxconn , a Chinese factory that makes IT products for US based companies like Apple and Dell, and its inhumane treatment of the workers.
According to the report the workers in the said factory work up to 35 hours per shift, no bathroom breaks for 12 hour shift, receiving 31 cents an hour for salary and live in cramped dorm room with 8 to 10 people, and will go to jail with 12 years prison sentence if they try to form a union. The working conditions are the so bad that thousands of employees commit suicide by jumping off the building. Guess what intervention FoxConn made? They installed yellow nets to prevent the jumpers from dying. Wow.
This news shook me to the core. Here I am enjoying my smart phone and all the convenience it brings while somewhere in this world a person is making one under harsh working conditions. How come I didn’t know about this before? Are the companies so good in keeping it a secret? Or am I simply oblivious to what is happening around me? This news made me question not only the unethical practices of companies that made huge profits out of other people’s suffering but also my responsibility as a consumer. I am aware that as a customer I am one of the company’s stakeholders because their decisions affect me. I always thought that as a customer the company is accountable to me but it never crossed my mind that the decision I make as a buyer has ethical issues to be considered too. As a consumer it is my responsibility to make sure that I only buy products or pay for services from companies that practice good corporate governance. As one of the stakeholders I have the power over corporations and if see a business practice that violates human rights I have the responsibility to let the company know that I am aware of what they are doing and if they don’t change their disgusting practices I will boycott their products and encourage others to do so until such time that they make responsible actions.
Sometimes we forget that we are part of a much bigger society and that our actions affect people even from across the globe. We tend to remove ourselves from the rest of the world and act as if we exist independently. We also don’t realize the power we have to create change and the responsibility that comes with that power. We have to stop living like this. We have to stand up against corporate greed and make our voices heard.