October 14, 2011

Is tech industry "infantile"? Did #SteveJobs add to it?

Mike Daisey thinks so. He's a techie of sorts and a definite performance artist, now doing a monologue on Steve Jobs.

He shone a light last year on the horrific work practices at Apple's Foxconn factories. And, he notes now that there's simply no financial reason to invest in such abusive practices, since the labor cost of an iPhone is only $8. In other words, there's simply no excuse for outsourcing these jobs. Period. Daisey notes:
"My job is to shine a light on and through something," he says. "My job isn't actually to stop people from buying devices. My job is to ensure that these circumstances are part of the conversation."
He takes that light shining to the modern tech industry in general. And, not just to the Chinese production, but the branding, the conspicuous consumption and more.
"I have to say, all the mourning for my hobby aside, there's a real joy to being freed from the infantilism of the tech world. There's a real infantilism in being obsessed with just how fast you can render a web page," he says. "I never really appreciated how imbedded I was until I stepped out of it."

He hopes to someday have a sweatshop-free certification of tech products.

Good luck with that, Mike. As I've blogged before, Silicon Valley is exploitive of its non-techie workers here in the U.S. Frankly, I think it's in part due to the same type of class/employment based cultural arrogance that seems to have driven Jobs himself. I mean, you can't outsource your U.S. janitorial work to China, so how you treat blue-collar local employees is probably a good reflection in general.

Read Daisey's own blog here. Read his NYT op-ed on Jobs' death here.

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