I’m excited about the Playstation 4 and the X-Box One. I’m looking forward to better graphics, dedicated servers, more apps and new user interfaces. There is one thing that has always bothered me about my enthusiasm for the new consoles and today it was front and center again. That one thing is the Foxconn plant in China where these consoles (and many Apple products) are assembled.
If you haven’t been following the story over the past couple years you should look at this article by Erik Kain of Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2013/10/10/report-chinese-university-students-forced-to-manufacture-playstation-4-in-foxconn-plant/). The unpleasant details and much of the sordid history of the plant are in the article. Low pay, underage workers and worker suicides are just some of the things that happen at Foxconn. Today news broke that Chinese University students were forced to work in the Foxconn plant for two months assembling PS4’s or risk having their diplomas withheld.
It’s an ugly situation and one I’ve never really been comfortable with. There doesn’t seem to be any easy answers for this problem. I don’t like purchasing products that come out of the plant but the problem is finding items that aren’t coming out of Foxconn or a place like it. The list of products they handle is lengthy and chances are you probably have some device that came out of the Foxconn plant in your home or in your pocket right now. The best thing that can be done is to start making people aware of the issue. You might be surprised at what people are going through to make you that new I Phone or get you that new PS4 or X-Box One by Christmas.