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Why Don’t We Care?

on April 29, 2012

In this digital technology class, an issue of ethics comes up a lot.  As we spend all day on our smart phones, computers and so on, we are asked who has made it possible for us to have these gadgets at a more or less reasonable price.  The answer usually lies somewhere in China, Taiwan, Mexico or India.  The question however, is not usually where do the gadgets come from, but why don’t we care about the people who are making our products.  No one can deny that the people who are making our technology devices are not living in the best conditions, nor working for the best wages.  If they were, then our cell phones and ipads would cost us a lot more then they do.  The question surrounding the issue of price/ affordability of a product vs. the ethics behind the people who make it remains an issue that we have only slightly covered in class.  I think that in general Americans (and most people in other countries) do care about the living/ working conditions of the people who make our gadgets, but only up to a point.  We care, but when our caring hurts our wallets then we start to question whether we should be getting involved.

I think that this attitude has to do with American Exceptionalism.  Many Americans think that they are so great, and in some situations that we are so caring too.  But I really do not think that many people would be willing to pay more for their products so that the people making those products could live better.  That argument relates very much to the idea of buying things that are made in the US.  For a while now, many efforts have been made for people to buy US cars, US clothes and foods grown in the US.  It is not that many people do not want to buy US products, I think if most people had the choice they would buy American things.  But the common argument against buying American things is the costs.  It usually costs more for people to buy things that are made in the US because American workers demand higher wages and better working environments then people in foreign countries would ask for.  So again we return to the issue of ethics and why don’t we care about the people making our things.  As we progress into the digital age, I don’t think that this issue will be resolved.  Even though the internet has made it more possible for Americans to connect with people around the world, I don’t know if that would make it more likely for people to care more about those people.  I would hope that it would, but I really do not know.  And as Apple, Sony, Microsoft and many other companies compete to come up with the newest must have gadget, the problem could only continue.


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