|Would this picture be different if my Mac was made in the U.S.?|
This past week, This American Life had a retraction episode, after it was discovered that some of the important details of the episode were falsified.
The initial episode, and the subsequent retraction, made me think anew about my status as a Mac consumer, and my status as a consumer in general (I won't talk about the latter here, because I have had a slightly easier time navigating those choices. Yes- I find the decisions around technology harder than clothes, baby products, appliances, and food. Perhaps combined).
Both stories got at some of the complexity of what it means to produce a product like an iPhone, iPad, etc. There's low pay and paper-thin margins and somehow it translates to incredible efficiency. But the story of the factory ended up not having the clear cut "bad guys", which is always unsettling and unsatisfying. Even the reporter wasn't maliciously telling lies, it seemed. The factories are bad, but not bad in a simplistic way. Bad in a complicated way. Bad in the ways that are tangled up in U.S. and Chinese economic systems. The villain was hard to pinpoint. The villain might be me and you. It might be the people seeking big profits. It might be the people just trying to get by as managers or as workers. It might be that the system is bigger than the sum of it's parts, which doesn't really make sense.
I feel the tension; I love Apple products. My MacAir is a joy. Incredibly light, simple, beautiful. I'd be happy to pay more for my Mac to have it responsibly produced. Yet I sense that that's not the choice- Apple production in China is an integral part of what Apple is. As Apple became more evil as a company, my love for its products grew.
I haven't found a satisfying answer to the choice I do have. Technology connects, and it isn't like a stove or fridge where you can buy second hand and keep it until the very end. Eug and I have 4 gadgets in our lives (little MacAir, Big MacAir, Kindle, 1st generation iPod touch). There's a lot of things we don't have, which I won't list here. When my iPod touch finally dies, I won't replace it. But my MacAir cannot be upgraded- I invested in the best version of the small MacAir with longevity in mind.
I'd love to hear your thoughts as you navigate these choices.
|In other news, here's to total abandon with finger paints|
|And oversized gowns that Noah insists on wearing (with nothing underneath) to bed|