Now That You Know When The iPhone 5 Is Shipping, Listen To Leslie T. Chang Talk About The People Behind The Products

I know it can be difficult sometimes to click on a 15-minute video, but this TEDTalk is both timely and worth it — timely because Apple held its iPhone 5 unveiling yesterday in San Francisco, and worth it because Leslie T. Chang is awesome. She’s best known for Factory Girls, by far the best book I’ve encountered about the people — the actual people — who live and work in the factories that churn out much of the world’s retail goods. During the peak of the Mike Daisey debacle, I kept waiting for Chang to pop up in an article or an op-ed page to bury Daisey, but now I realize that she never should deign to address such a lesser work. (CORRECTIONShe did write something; see also: Daisey’s response in comments.)

Be sure to catch the Q-and-A at the end of this. Here’s a quick excerpt from the early parts: “By focusing so much on ourselves and our gadgets, we have rendered the individuals on the other end into invisibility, as tiny and interchangeable as the parts of a mobile phone. Chinese workers are not forced into factories because of our insatiable desire for iPods. They choose to leave their homes in order to earn money, to learn new skills, and to see the world. In the ongoing debate about globalization, what’s been missing is the voices of the workers themselves. Here are a few…” Youku video for those in China in the morning, when the censors wake up and get around to approving this after the jump.

    4 Responses to “Now That You Know When The iPhone 5 Is Shipping, Listen To Leslie T. Chang Talk About The People Behind The Products”

    1. name

      sorry, but she’s not awesome. she did a great job by listening and conveying the voices of these workers. but the bottom line of her speech is purely conservative, market liberism. if these workers “choose” to do what they do, as she says, if they have the projects and aims she describes, why so many of them suicide, as she reminds us at the beginning of her speech? how to accomodate her narrative of individual agency, personal choice, and self-improvement with facts that reflect physical and psychological annihilation? this is the hard, difficult question that is there, right in front of her, but she refuses to answer.


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