UPDATE (MARCH 6TH): APPLE’S CEO, TIM COOK, WILL EARN $378 MILLION IN 2012. YES, THAT’S MILLIONS (BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK, 2/20 – 2/26/2012)
Wouldn’t you just kill for a new Apple iPad? Apparently, workers in China who assemble iPads will and do. So much so that Foxconn Technology Group who makes iPads for Apple forced workers to sign “suicide pledges” after a rash of suicides in an iPad plant. Demand for iPads is so great that workers were required (“strongly encouraged”) to take only one day off for every 13 days they worked. And, many of these days were 10-15 hours of mind-numbing labor. Lower performing workers are routinely humiliated in public to increase their productivity (www.consumerist.com). All this for about $ 5 per day, yes, $5 per day.
Chinese factory workers earn, collectively, about eight dollars for each iPad that rolls off the assembly line – that’s 2 % of the cost of the least expensive iPad. In contrast, Apple reaps about $150 in revenue for every iPad2 it sells (www.csmonitor.com).
iPhones and iPads have been so good to Apple that it is now the biggest company in the world with a market capitalization of $507.7 billion. That’s a half a trillion dollars. Exxon Mobile is a distant second with a market cap of a measly $409.11 billion (www.pcmag.com). It’s hard to believe Americans spend more on iPhones, iPads, and Macs then we do on oil and gas!
The question of the day is this: Is it ethical for us to buy iPhones and iPads from a company that has $98 billion in savings when its workers are working themselves to death, or working in extreme conditions for the princely sum of $5 per day? Consumption is a moral matter; how we spend our money affects others. It appears that it is time for us to start shopping for a better world.