Should Steve Jobs been ashamed of the sweat shops he used in China? (Part 1)

This is a very easy issue for me. Milton Friedman noted in 1973:

 Sweatshops and child labor were conditions that resulted more from poverty than from laissez-faire economics. Wretched working conditions still exist in nations with all sorts of enlightened social legislation but where poverty is still extreme. We in the United States no longer suffer that kind of poverty because the free-enterprise system has allowed us to become wealthy.
Everybody does take the line that laissez faire is heartless. But when do you suppose we had the highest level of private charitable activity in this country? In the 19th century. That’s when we had the great movement toward private nonprofit hospitals. The missions abroad. The library movement. Even the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. That was also the era in which the ordinary man, the low-income man, achieved the greatest improvement in his standard of living and his status. During that period, millions of penniless immigrants came in from abroad, with nothing but their hands, and enjoyed an enormous rise in their standard of living.
My mother came to this country when she was 14 years old. She worked in a sweatshop as a seamstress, and it was only because there was such a sweatshop in which she could get a job that she was able to come to the U.S. But she didn’t stay in the sweatshop and neither did most of the others. It was a way station for them, and a far better one than anything available to them in the old country. And she never thought it was anything else. I must say that I find it slightly revolting that people sneer at a system that’s made it possible for them to sneer at it.

I saw on HBO Real Time with Bill Maher his interview with Mike Daisey. Below is an article on what Daisey said about Steve Jobs and sweat shops in China. 

Mike Daisey’s The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs Will Reboot at the Public in 2012

By Adam Hetrick
01 Dec 2011

Mike Daisey
Mike Daisey
Photo by Joan Marcus

Mike Daisey’s The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, which played an extended run Off-Broadway at the Public Theater earlier this fall, will return for a five-week New York run in 2012.

The Agony and the Ecstasy began previews Oct. 11 and played an extended run through Dec. 4. The monologue, which examines the human cost of must-have technology, has been announced to play a Jan. 31-March 4, 2012, encore engagement at the Public.

Jean-Michele Gregory directed Daisey’s heated monologue, which opened to strong reviews Oct. 17. The Public Theater’s timely engagement began less than a week after the Apple co-founder died at the age of 56.

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs is coming back because it must,” Public artistic director Oskar Eustis said in a statement. “There has been huge demand for Mike Daisey’s wonderful show, a demand that is fueled both by the brilliance of his performance and the importance of his subject. This show speaks to the heart of America, who we are, the way we live and what we value. I am thrilled that Mike has struck such a nerve.”


Here’s how the Public describes the work: “Mike Daisey turns his razor-sharp wit to America’s most mysterious technology icon in this hilarious and harrowing tale of pride, beauty, lust, and industrial design. He illuminates how the CEO of Apple and his obsessions shape our lives, while sharing stories of his own travels to China to investigate the factories where millions toil to make iPhones and iPods. Daisey’s dangerous journey shines a light on our love affair with our devices and the human cost of creating them.”

“Many of us feel a deep intimacy with Steve’s passing, because Apple’s design language and Jobs’ obsessions blur the lines—in a real sense many people’s intimate history with Apple has been a decades-long conversation about industrial design with Steve Jobs himself,” Daisey said in a previous statement.

He continued, “This moment is an opportunity to peel back the surface and get at the secret heart of our relationship with Steve Jobs, his devices, our labor, and China itself. We live in denial about China: a relationship that so disturbs us that we pretend our devices are made in magical Willy Wonka-esque factories by space elves instead of the real human cost we all know in our hearts has been paid. Steve Jobs was famous for his unsentimental directness, his ability to ignore nostalgia and demand the unvarnished truth, however difficult. I admire that, and these performances at this precise moment are an opportunity for us to together rediscover out how alive theatre can be when we don’t know all the answers.”

_____________

This argument falls apart as Milton Friedman points out above. He pointed out:

My mother came to this country when she was 14 years old. She worked in a sweatshop as a seamstress, and it was only because there was such a sweatshop in which she could get a job that she was able to come to the U.S. But she didn’t stay in the sweatshop and neither did most of the others. It was a way station for them, and a far better one than anything available to them in the old country. And she never thought it was anything else. I must say that I find it slightly revolting that people sneer at a system that’s made it possible for them to sneer at it.

Some say Steve Jobs was an atheist

According to published reports Steve Jobs was a Buddhist and he had a very interesting quote on death which I discussed in another post. Back in 1979 I saw the film series HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? by Francis Schaeffer and I also read the book. Francis Schaeffer observes in How Should We Then Live: The Rise […]

Steve Jobs and Adoption

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address Uploaded by StanfordUniversity on Mar 7, 2008 It was a quite moving story to hear about Steve Jobs’ adoption. Ryan Scott Bomberger (www.toomanyaborted.com), co-founder of The Radiance Foundation, an adoptee and adoptive father: “As a creative professional, [Jobs’] visionary work has helped my own visions become reality. But his […]

What is the eternal impact of Steve Jobs’ life?

I have written several posts on Steve Jobs and they are listed below. Today I want to look at the eternal impact of Steve Jobs’ life. Below are the words of – R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.: “Christians cannot leave the matter where the secular world will […]

Steve Jobs versus President Obama: Who created more jobs?

I loved reading this article below. (Take a look at the link to other posts I have done on Steve Jobs.) David Boaz makes some great observations: How much value is the Post Office creating this year? Or Amtrak? Or Solyndra? And if you point out that the Post Office does create value for its […]

Steve Jobs’ view of death and what the Bible has to say about it

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address Uploaded by StanfordUniversity on Mar 7, 2008 Drawing from some of the most pivotal points in his life, Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks — including death […]

8 things you might not know about Steve Jobs

Things you may not know about Steve Jobs: Steve Jobs leans against his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs (Lea Suzuki/San Francisco Chronicle/Corbis) For all of his years in the spotlight at the helm of Apple, Steve Jobs in many ways remains an inscrutable figure — even in his death. Fiercely private, Jobs concealed most specifics about […]

Steve Jobs was a Buddhist: What is Buddhism?

Steve Jobs passed away on October 5, 2011. I personally am very grateful to him for helping the world so much with his ideas and I have written about that before. Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute noted: He’s built a $360 billion company. That presumably means at least $352 billion of wealth in the […]

  Did Steve Jobs help people even though he did not give away a lot of money? (I just finished a post concerning Steve’s religious beliefs and a post about 8 things you may not know about Steve Jobs) Uploaded by UM0kusha0kusha on Sep 16, 2010 clip from The First Round Up *1934* ~~enjoy!! ______________________________________________ In the short film […]

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