Foxconn, the Chinese electronics manufacturing behemoth, has promised to sharply curtail working hours and increase worker pay, after an investigation by the Fair Labor Association found numerous examples of the company violating Chinese law and industry codes of conduct. The investigation came at the behest of Apple, after the iPhone maker came under intense criticism for working conditions at plants operated by Foxconn and other contract suppliers.
Criticism of Apple and Foxconn (which also happens to assemble products for Dell, Amazon, and other major brands) had been slowly building for years, but came to a head recently following the success of local monologuist Mike Daisey's The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, which, much to Daisey's shame, was recently revealed to be largely fictionalized. His questionable methodology aside, without Daisey's effective storytelling, Apple might never have joined the Fair Labor Association and requested the investigation, or at the very least, might have waited much longer to do so.
So... do the ends justify the means? If, hypothetically, Daisey's beautifully constructed lie ultimately served to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of Foxconn workers, was it worth it? Or must we always meticulously stick to the facts, even when it gets in the way of communicating a larger truth?
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