Are things as bad at Foxconn as we’ve been led to believe?

From Retraction | This American Life:

We’ve discovered that one of our most popular episodes contained numerous fabrications. This week, we detail the errors in Mike Daisey’s story about visiting Foxconn, which makes iPads and other products for Apple in China. Marketplace’sChina correspondent Rob Schmitz discovered the fabrications.

I have no doubt that, by American standards, what is going on at Foxconn would be considered “appalling” by many. Even if the real story is better than what was portrayed by Mike Daisey or the New York Times.

Unfortunately, this sort of thing is typical of what the media does. Take a sensational story that “sounds” believable and run it without completely fact checking it. Surely it brought in ratings for NPR and massive page views for the New York Times. Any fallout from “bad journalism,” which, let’s face it, is pretty rampant these days,would be overshadowed by the massive ratings and page views they get.

Bad media aside, I have a more philosophical question that comes up often for me, especially when I hear about American activities abroad: who are we to say our standards are better than the Chinese, or anyone else’s for that matter? Why do so many people feel compelled to force our standards on other countries? What if the shoe were on the other foot? How would we feel if someone forced their standards on Americans?

I’m all for improving the lot of everyone in the world, but at what point do those activities become coercive in a negative way?






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