The Guardian Unlimited technology blog posted a note today about the conditions of the factories in China where iPods are made. It's source is a report in the [British] Mail that, unfortunately, isn't available online. However, this excerpt is interesting:
The report claims Longhua's workers live in dormitoriesthat house 100 people, and that visitors from the outside world are notpermitted. Workers toil for 15-hours a day to make the iconic musicplayer, the report claims. They earn £27 per month. The report revealsthat the iPod nano is made in a five-storey factory (E3) that issecured by police officers.
Anotherfactory in Suzhou, Shanghai, makes iPod shuffles. The workers arehoused outside the plant, and earn £54 per month - but they must payfor their accommodation and food, "which takes up half their salaries",the report observes.
As one commenter on the post has already pointed out, iPods and other Apple products are made in the same factories as many other electronic products, so we shouldn't necessarily single out Apple. However, brands like Bose or Sony don't actively trumpet how good they are for the world in quite the same way as Apple does.
Maybe it's just me, but shouldn't a company be held to a different ethical standard when it uses images of icons like Gandhi, Albert Einstein, or Cesar Chavez to promote itself?