“Mike Daisey Was Right and I Was Wrong”
[Daisey’s] hope, I’d guess, is that this will compel us to do something. Talk about it with others, write letters to Apple (he provides contact info), or even agitate for political change. But I’m skeptical that consumer action against a company can really change things. Call me an unrepentant liberal, but when I look at the world, I generally assume there’s a reason it is the way it is, and if we don’t want it to be that way, we should actually expect things like laws to be in place to prevent the things we don’t like, feel are excessive, damaging, or wrong.
Well, as much as I still agree with my final sentiment (there should be some laws, damn it) my skepticism appears to have been masking cynicism. Here, from Mike Daisey’s blog on January 20 (I hope he’ll forgive me for quoting large sections of it verbatim):
First, if you haven’t heard, during this break in the run at the Public we spent a month collaborating with Ira Glass and THIS AMERICAN LIFE to adapt THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS for the radio […] In its first week the episode was the most downloaded in THIS AMERICAN LIFE’s history. The internet exploded, and the story went everywhere—I received over a thousand emails in just a few days; the response was overwhelming […] A week after our show was broadcast, Apple made an abrupt announcement. After years of stonewalling and silence, they released the full list of their suppliers, and agreed to outside, independent monitoring of working conditions in the factories they use. It is not everything, but it is a small step down the right road. Details […] Many news outlets are crediting THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS for being a large factor in Apple’s decision. I’ve received a number of emails from Apple employees who have told me they believe that hearing this story on THIS AMERICAN LIFE, a program many Apple employees listen to with their families and their children, created “a morale situation” that finally compelled Apple to begin to do the right thing…
So yup. Looks like I was just plain wrong. Anyone out there who knows Mike Daisey’s email or phone number should tell him I owe him a drink or dinner or something or other. The show has returned to the Public; see here for This American Life‘s episode on the show/Foxconn.