In their April 13-26 edition, the National Catholic Reporter published a piece that I wrote on the explosion of press about labor rights issues at the manufacturing facilities of Foxconn, the company that makes many of Apple’s most popular devices. The article compares Apple with Nike, which has had its share of labor problems starting in the 1990s.
As a brand, [Nike] evoked the best in American culture: commitment, achievement, competitiveness, cool, and a sense of fair play. But as tales of their rights abuses spread, Nike became a cultural symbol of everything that was wrong with capitalism and globalization.
Unlike Nike, though, Apple seems to have made it out of the controversy unscathed. But how? The piece reflects on some of the dynamics involved in the case, as well as some of the long term implications.