I Wish Steve Jobs Changed Capitalism, too

Just found a depressing but important article about the working conditions in Apple factories, as well as a cultural explication of Apple’s recent success. Mike Daisey, quoted below, put forward these arguments in a live performance last Fall entitled The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.  From Outsourcing Jobs {n+1 blog; via truth dig}:

Apple’s massive growth in the last eight years to becoming the single most valuable publicly traded company in the world is not entirely explained by the thesis that Apple products are great, or that the company was early to take advantage of wireless broadband, or that Apple’s time had come when we all began to see computers as lifestyle accessories. For every era gets the companies it deserves. A brand of cleanness and simplicity, of chipperly trading control for efficiency, seems particularly well suited for a time when people have lost faith in an incompetent, messy, gridlocked, shallow democracy and in our fragilely recovering economy. Better an iPhone than Il Duce, of course, to make the trains run on time—or at least to tell you how to get to Penn Station—but totalitarian shadows probably should not fall over the products we crave, in how they are made or why we love them. Nor should the manufacture and the appeal of our most desired products reach the same conclusion: that people are much less than our machines.

UPDATE 1/9: This week’s episode of This American Life features a made-for-radio version of his performance. It’s incredibly moving. Listen to it here: Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory.