Today I saw that the Steve Jobs Memorial had been “erected” in St. Petersburg as an honoring to his inventiveness. Now I am not here to negate the fact that he was a trailblazer. He certainly changed much of how the world works, but is it something to celebrate?
When I ask most people, and I have a massive exposure to Steve Jobs fanatics here teaching English in Russia, they have nothing but good things to say about Apple. Most people seem to only have positive feelings and emotions with Apple, and I think a lot of it comes from the admiration of Steve Jobs. He created a trademark, a sexy brand, and knew how to sell technology as fashion. A marketing genius, but are his business practices also just as trendy, just as “trail-blazing” as his advertising techniques?
If we look at the history of becoming an industrialized nation, we think of dirt, sweat, and outrageously awful working conditions. Children working 12 hour days, and some people even being worked to death. The original union movement did a lot to improve these working conditions. If we also look at the invention of robotics and technology, a lot of those dangerous and awful jobs can be left to robots.
Would we think that Steve Jobs, with his outrageously overpriced products would demand a quality working environment for his employees, and be a proponent of technological industry with a strong middle class? I would hope that anyone with the rights to a memorial would at least be this moral.
If we look the the documentation of his business practices we would see none of the sort. It is well known to the read public that he employs Chinese slave labor, that is so cruel they were forced to install suicide nets on the factory. This had to be done because of the epidemic of Chinese that would choose to jump out of the window, rather than work another day in his factories environment.
Why is it that people so often build statues of the worst kind of people? Why must there be a human life cost to building a “cheap” iPad? If people are willing to spend thousands of dollars on Apple products because of their impeccable quality, why don’t they demand a workable wage for those who built it?