Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Advertising: An Economics Experiment for Parents

                Many things can be said about advertising. A lot of people feel that advertising has had a negative impact on our society, and will ultimately lead to the destruction of the civilized world. While other feel that advertising that targets it's specific demographic really helps put items into the hand of the people who need it. But what if the targeted demographic is our children? Should we be concerned with our children being the ambition of the advertising community? I think, while in some ways it should be seen with a negative sentiment, that advertising towards kids in some ways is a good thing.
                Since the mid 80's the media industry has steered sharply towards advertising to our kids, bringing them into market as consumers at a young age. While this may sounds antagonistic to the way we want our children to be and act, it may be a very positive start if treated properly. For example a intuitive parent may see this as an opportunity to introduce the child to responsibilities. Many kids today are forced into chores with little to no compensation for their activities, similar in some ways to slavery but legal. Why not derive from this situation the chance to show your kids what labor will buy them. If a kid is given a very clear set of responsibilities to take care of for a set reward at completion then the kid will more than likely happily do them. And you can take it a step further then and set a monetary price per chore and start to wean them off the idea that labor equals products to the far more accurate concept that labor equals money that can then be used to acquire said products. At a young age your child can be many years ahead of their peers who are still aimlessly begging their parents for something they may or may not get. They are destined to enter the world looking to others for their needs, while your kid is forging his own future and knows how to get what he wants.
                A bright child who learns the values of work and income in this monetary world at a young age can expect to be far more successful in life. There has been many studies over the years that paying our kids for good grades increases their level of learning and knowledge retention. And now that the child is set up on a work/reward schedule, you can continue it in their school work. "Statistically speaking, it was as if those kids had spent three extra months in school, compared with their peers who did not get paid," says Roland Fryer Jr. a Harvard economist running studies on monetary incentives for grades.
                It could be said that advertising towards children is a bad thing. But if handled right, the constant income of "needed" merchandise can fuel a creative parent in teaching their kid as a young age that nothing comes free in life. For all reason that people find wrong with advertising and children, let it be known that it can be a good thing too.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kid Kustomers

       The typical child spends twenty one hours a week watching television, roughly thirty thousand TV commercials a year, and one quarter of kids between the ages two and five have a television in their room. However, it was not until the resent past that advertising pressure on kid sky-rocketed. Before the 1980’s the concept of kids as “surrogate salesmen” was unconceived, today extensive studies are applied to the child consumer. They are encouraged through clubs and groups sponsored by large corporations to reveal names, zip codes, addresses, and personal preferences. They are targeted, starting at the age of two, by twenty four seven advertising, with the goal of creating brand recognition on the same level as family members.
       In a world where children spend more time watching a screen then being engaged in any other activity, the results of advertisement targeting can be devastating. Instead of using our new instates into how the developing brain works to expand its potential, large corporations are creating ideal consumers, essentially cults for their companies. The extensive studies on how and what children dream about are being applied to keep kids suckling at the teat of large corporations from “cradle-to-grave”.
       Michael Pertschuk said, “They cannot protect themselves against adults who exploit their present mindedness” If this is true then it is up to us to give them a fighting chance. Parents, not fuzzy animal logos and smiling cartoon characters must once again become the center role-models for our nation’s children. Allowing big business to raise kids will degrade family values by not allowing time for them to prosper. Children must have a fighting chance to become critical consumers or they will grow up to financial ruin, snubbed by the fallacy in and idealist tones of advertizing. 

I blame the parents

Eric Schlosser has a point and among many things I believe he is completely correct, however he fails to discuss the other side of the story. He presents his information in such a factual, droning way that it makes you feel, up to the very end, that the facts being presented are pure and in no way refutable. I disagree with him in three ways in his one direction approach by asking the question: What about the parents? To start off, "children's" advertising is in no way completely targeted at just the children. There are advertisements for videos such as "Baby Einstein", toys from "Fischer Price" that claim to help in an infants development, pads from "Leap Frog" that claim to help teach children to read, and an endless list of other things that claim to help raise your children. Not only are these things seen on television and coveted by kids all across America, but the commercials also make parents believe that by buying these items raising their children would be easier. A little girl wines for a doll that talks and the parent thinks "O yes. I saw that on television. The commercial said it will help bring her up to be nurturing" and throws it in the cart, only encouraging the "nagging" technique advertisers rely on. In a distant land called Sam's Club a parent is buying carrots with Sponge Bob on the package thus yet again enforcing the cycle of nagging for everything Sponge Bob, instead of making the kid just eat some regular carrots. This type of behaviour and manipulation, on both sides, is exactly what brings me into my next point. The whole children's advertising world has to have some sort of basis in how children are being raised! A commercial comes on for some new, amazing, and wonderful set of Legos and it does not say " Ask your mom nicely." Instead it screams to the impressionable young mind that if they don't have this they are doomed for the rest of eternity and I believe that modern parents, as an average, have brought up their children to demand and depend on these such things. It is no longer, "If you do that one more time we are going home.", it is "Ive told you twenty times to knock it off or your not getting that toy!" Twenty minutes later when the child has embarrassed you beyond belief, kicked your boss you ran into at Walmart, and knocked down everything in the aisle, you finally give in and put the toy in the cart along with two others, and the cycle continues. What about not raising your children to hold their breath to get what they want or even better not exposing them to the advertising in the first place. Many others mentioned in their post that the thought of advertisers promoting candy cigarettes and the fact that so many young children know "Joe the Camel" was despicable and disgusting. My question is yet again: "What about the parents?" If children know who Joe the Camel is we immediately think "Omg, those advertising companies will do anything to get someone to buy their product. That's disgusting." meanwhile there are millions of parents all over the world with a cigarette in their mouths at this very moment. I don't rest the "blame" squarely on the shoulder of the companies who are only doing their jobs. I instead rest a lot of it on the shoulders of the parents who are exposing their kids to the advertising and raising them to believe it and then whining about the results.

Kids and Bling

Mr Schlosser argues that twenty-five years ago only a handful of American companies targeted their marketing at children. He goes on to state the reason for this as "Many working parents, feeling guilty about spending less time with their kids, started spending more money on them." However, it could be argued that the eighties was a time of great economic prosperity. The economy experienced booming recovery from record inflation and unemployment as well as the oil embargoes of the 1970's. Americans were ready to spend their money again. So why not spend money on their kids? American companies wisely discovered this largely untapped market and they went for it.
Allowing the free market to do what the free market does is essential to the health of our capitalistic system. Certainly, there should be moral and ethical parameters as to how far companies are allowed to go in order to make a buck. Mr. Schlosser seems to believe that companies have gone to far. That they have crossed ethical boundaries and they need to be held accountable for it. However, I am not so convinced that transgression has occurred. It seems to me these companies have wisely used very effective marketing strategies in order to get Americans to spend their money. Actually, our economy is driven by consumer spending so the marketers are actually doing a service to society. For instance, Mr. Schlosser states, "The growth in children's advertising has been driven by efforts to increase not just current, but also future, consumption." Why would this be such a bad thing? If a company can create "brand loyalty" at an early age then both the consumer and the company are winning. The company saves a lot of money and the consumer sticks with a company they know have proven to continually produce a quality product.
Furthermore, Mr. Schlosser's argument seems to put no onus on the parents. Our not parents the adults? Are parents defenseless against the whimsical nagging of their child's wants? Ultimately, it is up to the parents to decide what is best for their children not some government agency that would ban advertising to children.

And I thought Pee Wee was scary...

Well, I didn't even want to finish the damned reading...  It was just too creepy for my likes.  The fact that companies, even cigarette companies, have, are, and will continue to target little kids as young as TWO really astonishes me.  And then the fact that market researchers can do shit like host "Slumber Parties" for kids, and the fact that parents even go along with it at all, only makes me lose even more of what little faith I have in humanity.  It reminds me of this one story I was once told about where there were two super-powered corporations that controlled the very lives of all of the people of the world, and competed against each other to attempt to increase their global influence.

Also, a good example of children demanding stuff from their parents is never hard to find in the Nome region.  Hell, many parents from the villages will do near anything to pacify their children.  They don't care if the child loses it's teeth by the age of six, if the kid wants juice or "pop", all the kid needs to do is scream.  And if anyone knows the effectiveness of blackmailing a parent, it would be me.  If there's ANY type of fact that needs to be kept away from the opposite party, a child such as I was would brandish it as their weapon of choice in an instant...

Unlike some of the other posts, I won't try to analyze the author.  I really don't care about him.  Though he DOES have a disturbingly provocative subject.

Am I the only one who just had to say "Dafuq?!" at the mention of parents allowing their children to go to "Slumber Parties" with so-called market researchers?  Disgusting...

Eric Schlosser's Kid Kustomers

Eric Schlosser talks about the roles children play in advertising and presents his views in a factual type way to get you to agree and see his point. The information is presented in way where it doesn’t seem to be just his thoughts about it but in reality they pretty much are although he does include of factual information from studies. He talks about how Joe Camel could be recognized by nearly all six year old children. Of course some children are going to pick up on advertisements like this and in the world of marketing why wouldn’t you make commercials and market your stuff to be recognized. Of course with cigarettes and alcohol shouldn’t be marketed towards children but the fact the commercials and advertisements are made to sell a product. Schlosser talks about  how marketers are exploiting children in the sense they aren’t able to comprehend the idea of advertising so they are drawn into it but if they can’t comprehend what the marketers are trying convey are they really being exploited?... Yes, children are easy to target when it comes to advertising because they make up such a big part of the buying industry from food and clothes to toys but the reason children are targeted more now than 25 years ago is because of how society has changed. Children are into technology more so now than ever before. Our technology has increased drastically and the ages of using this technology are getting younger and younger. While this also is increasing children's brain function and hands on activities by playing education games on their phones, consoles, and computers, it also benefits the market industry letting them target younger and more children.
While this essay was set up very well and presented information about children and marketing, it definitely wasn’t thinking about the business side and marketing side. People need to sell their products and what better way to do that than to target children who you know will be enticed by the product and intern ask their parents to get for them. In the business world though some people may think it’s bad, things like this need to be done, it’s the logical thing to do so why wouldn’t you?... It’s not like they are abusing children by marketing things for children to be enticed by and to find amusing. Yes, with cigarettes and alcohol I believe shouldn’t be targeted at children because for one thing, children can not legally buy them although we all know they have even had employees hand out cigarettes to underage children because they learned the younger people start smoking the more likely they will stay a smoker and be addicted. All and all I disagree with this essay, it only makes sense marketers and industries target children for their commercials and advertisements.

Children are the future.

In “Kid Kustomers” the author Erik Schlosser did a very effective job at using facts to drive a very biased argument. Schlosser only touched base on the negative facets of advertising, however he materializes this information in a regurgitated statistical fashion. With Schlosser relying on data and studies, he purposely adheres to the reader’s natural acceptance of credible information, almost persuading the audience into feeling the remorse that’s always present when discussing a child’s welfare.  Schlosser makes advertising a way bigger issue than it really is. If parents are really that concerned for their children’s well being, they can possibly mitigate the issue with a real baby sitter rather than a television. Advertising is how the whole marketing economy works and just because Erik thinks all forms of child advertising is erroneous, doesn’t necessarily leave the corporations at fault. Corporations are only doing what they have always done and that’s advertise and make money.  Ultimately it is up to the parents to teach these children the value of things in life. I grew up with a single mother who wouldn’t buy me the toy I wanted until Christmas or my birthday.  This wasn’t a punishment because she knew that I would have no regards for that toy when 3 months down the road a newer version would be out. The point is she wouldn’t spoil me so I learned to value the things I received. An important thing that Erik Schlosser and his studies failed to consider is that children today are smarter than they’ve ever been. Today more and more kids are becoming highly adept at problem solving, heightening their awareness, and further developing their constantly growing brains through which they have learned from computers, video games, and even the television. It’s a mistake to classify children as unable to defend themselves from the evils of television, just as it is the fault of the parents who let their kiddos watch. Children appear to be an easy prey, but in reality children are more aware and intuitive then most adults. My seven year old cousin knows when I pull a fast one on him and understands more than he’s given credit for. Kids are not stupid, they’re just naïve. They know when they are being tricked. Schlosser’s optimism for future generations is lacking. Rather than relying on potentially insightful one on one interviews with children or their parents, Erik mistakenly digs up all these facts and gives a generalization of “the typical American child”(356). Schlosser’s overgeneralizations lack reason and sound encouragement that’s needed when talking to children. Using advertisement companies as a scapegoat is like counting grains of sand, pointless.
-Scott Shears

Monday, February 27, 2012

Subtle But Blatent

Eric Schlosser's essay on "Kid Kustomers" seemed to be more of a journalistic article than an essay.  There was a lot of facts about advertising to kids but it didn't seem like he had much of an opinion on the matter.  It is hard to tell if he agrees, disagrees, or both on the matter.  I'm assuming that he doesn't agree with child advertising.  All the facts that he put into the essay were suppose to have an emotional response for the reader.  Especially when he mentioned that kids were the most fond of cartoon advertisements for tobacco and alcohol companies.  He also mentioned on how much kids watched TV and the amount of advertisement's kids watch during their time watching TV.  I think those were key statements that he mentioned to get an emotional response from parents.  He mentioned those facts so parents would maybe protect their children because they be harmful to them when they grow up.  He is also trying to have children watch less TV.  He doesn't seem to be forcing the matter but just stating facts so maybe parents could view the matter rationally and decide on their own that child advertising is bad.

Schlosser seems to want to get rid of child advertising.  His writing is very subtle on he feels on the matter but he has a lot of blatant facts.  There are a lot facts that he mentions that are negative.  By providing negative facts, he is trying to get a negative response from the readers towards child advertisement.  He is pushing his opinions through facts he provided but not actually stating his opinions.

I don't agree that all kid advertisements are bad.  The products in the advertisements probably put a good sum of money into our economy.  The advertisements also provide jobs for people who make them. They also provide jobs for the people who make and sell the products.  The advertisements for tobacco and alcohol are misleading so kids are drawn to them because of the cartoons.  Those advertisements are not for kids and should probably be revised so kids aren't drawn to them.  As for actual kids advertisements, they aren't bad.  People are just trying to make a living and earn money like everyone else.  It's really up to the parents on how they handle the advertisements for their kids.  If parents don't like the advertisements they can restrict their kids TV watching.  Overall the parents should make their own decisions on how to hand kid advertisements.

The Sane Mind of The Mad Men.


                   After reading the essay, “Kid Kustomers,” by Erik Schlossers I found myself disagreeing with a few aspects, but overall agreeing with the message. However, due to constraints in writing this blog response, here is my disagreeing opinion. Despite being blasted from over 30,000 television advertisements a year and being targeted by huge corporations with a doctrine of “cradle to the grave loyalty.” I find that children, with the right guidance from their parents, will see to the root purpose of advertisement, which is of course to make money.
Corporations are constantly diverting funds to expand and discover new research that opens a wider gaze into a child’s mind of what they want and desire. Even with all that effort targeting these helpless, and defenseless future consumer’s the “Mad Men” fail to understand a couple things. One that most kids under the age of 12 don't have money to buy these products, even with the seven different ways of pressuring parents into buying these products. Two, the companies fail again to understand that a parent has more power over their children’s pathetic attempts which make a used car sales man seem respectful.  
This is not to say that there are exceptions to the rule, face it, we all have been to Wal-Mart and other fine stores and personally witnessed the ad agent’s tool of persuasion such as “The Demonstrator Nudge,” and tactics. Despite probably having a full tank of embarrassment and empty tank of patience, the parents of those children usually do not enable the Mad Man’s dream of having children controlling the household’s budget. 
The Government regulating these controversial doctrines and strategies in long run are probably hurting more than they are saving the feeble and nimble mind of the future average American Consumer. Think of how much money goes into advertisement! Think just by limiting the targeted of children demography, all of the Don Drapers’ in the industry wouldn't be able to obtain the suits, cars, condo’s and definitively not the amount of fine scotch at their disposal. That’s called trickle down economics, ladies and gentlemen; in these poor hard economics times, I’d say blast the demographic with harmless attempts to Pied Piper the children.
I have so many wonderful and amazing memories filled as a child by dreaming and envying all the products that were targeting me. Every glorious and ritualistic Saturday morning, I would witness with the most amazing and life changing toy products. From Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’s Battle Wagon, to The Street Sharks, and who could forget all the Jurassic Park action figures?  With year long targeting, especially around The Holiday’s, I had a new product to beg, demonstrate, and attempt to bribe my parents with every day.
The point being is this, no matter how hard I begged as a kid, screaming/throwing a fit, that never seem to bring me closer to my dreams ambition of the complete collection of My Little Ponies, or Cabbage Patch Kids. It was through only being obedient, respectful, and not being annoying that opened my parent’s pocket book. And of course that was after the house, food, heating and other such life expenses were budgeted. Furthermore, after the monthly budget, it was lastly my parent’s clear conscious of determining what was good for me in that moment and what would benefit me in the long run that would eventually land Polly Pocket’s new toy into shaking hands of excitement. I say as long as products are not dangerous such as, tobacco, alcohol, drugs and other such vices, I say blast those children into the next decade of bad hair and fashion.

Kid Kustomers Response

Kid Kustomers Response
    After reading through Kid Kustomers the first time, I found that I agreed for the most part with what the author, Eric Schlosser, was saying. However, after reading it more thoroughly, I noticed that he was very skilled at manipulating the evidence he found to suit his own opinion and the points he wanted to put forth. Marketers do target children, and probably way more than they did in the past. Even though he may have sought advice from “experts” on the matter, I found that his observations about children and advertising were mostly very broad generalizations. Some of which just didn't seem to ring true. For example, I’m pretty sure nobody in my first grade class knew who Joe Camel was. I know I didn’t.

    In this article Schlosser comes across as suggesting all parents spoil their kids and that all kids nag their parents around the clock. He makes subtle suggestions that all children are malicious and calculating in their nagging tactics. He also suggests that kids know exactly what they’re doing when they nag. In my opinion, when children nag, they realize that it gets them what they want, but maybe not the higher implications of their actions, like the fact that it also gets marketers exactly what they want.

 When parents allow their kids to badger them into submission, the kids know they can get away with nagging and use it for leverage. It only makes the kids persist with their nagging because they know it works. But it will also make them spoiled. If marketers can count on parents to surrender too easily to their nagging children, then marketing is working on the adults ( though maybe indirectly) more than on the kids.

    Schlosser successfully uses ethos by tossing in little nuggets of  professional advice from professors and other authors to back up his opinions. He gets us to feel sympathy for the children and displeasure with the advertisers through his use of pathos. And he appeals to his audience’s sense of logic by pointing out lots of facts, some well known, but most are pretty obscure. All these techniques make the readers think he knows exactly what he is talking about.

    I think the main thing the author is trying to accomplish in this article is to disturb and scare his audience ( which I believe he succeeds at ). His book, Fast food Nation, centered on many of the same principles. By pointing out the flaws in the advertising business he hopes to make us realize how amoral the efforts to turn children into consumers are. I appreciate the fact that he is trying to stimulate conversation and reveal what is wrong with our society, but I think he likes to phrase his writing in such a way that makes his perspective overly pessimistic. I think he wants to point out what is wrong with the modern world, and he does so in the extreme.

Eric Schlosser Kids Kustomers

I have to disagree with this guy. As a child I didn't know who Joe Camel was. Heck I don't remember much of anything between the ages of two and five. Children can be nagging, but it is all about how the parent rases there children. I have known many kids who can be nagging, but I have known others that aren't as nagging. I have to agree with Matthew though I think this essay is really biased towards children advertisements. Children advertising is looked down to by more older people then some of the younger generation. Mr. Schlosser seems to be a person who just disagrees with child advertising. He isn't the first and most certainly won't be the last, but he needs to stop being as biased as he is in this essay. He doesn't really try to play devil's advocate against his opinion, he is only supporting his believes not anyone else's. I think Mr. Schlosser needs to go back and look over his essay again and try to prove why his points are correct and why they are the most logical. I think a good example is when he talks about 25 years ago there were only a few American companies directing their marketing towards children. Which that was 25 years ago, that isn't 2011 or 2001. Twenty-five years ago life was different then how it is now-a-days when most advertising is directed towards children. That doesn't mean that the child is going to remember this a year later after the commercial has already aired. Children between the ages of two and six focus on the now, not the future. They don't have anything to worry about in life other then how to have fun with their friends. They don't pay attention to the TV half the time because majority of children have atleast a little ADD and can't focus long enough on one thing to where it impacts them long term. It is usually when children go to the store or go to say McDonalds that they see something and want it. This doesn't happen on TV all of the time, it probably doesn't even happen half the time. I still feel there is something missing from this essay. It is a good essay, makes some good points, but there is no devil's advocate to the article. That is what I believe the essay to be missing, but this is my opinion.

Response To Kid Kustomers

After I finished up reading Erik Schlossers "Kid Kustomers" I thought he made many good points throughout the whole essay, but the majority of it was biased and based of his opinion alone. Erik Schlosser seems like the type of guy who grew up without television, maybe even a radio, and because of this he believes that because the youth of today spend a good amount of time in front of a tv there minds are being corrupted by advertising. He goes on blaming big companies such as Nickelodeon and Disney for this corruption when he needs to realize that it is the 21st century now. Advertising is something that will never go away and just because he thinks that any form of child advertising is terrible doesn't mean that it is the fault of big name corporations. These big name corporations are doing what they are supposed to do, advertise and get money. That's how it has always been. So the only people who can be blamed for any form of "corruption" be brought upon a child is the parents. If parents would actually spend time with there kids, teach them wrong from right and dictate the amount of television that a child watches then none of this would be a problem. Parents need to not rely on school and tv to raise there children and actually do there jobs as parents and raise children themselves. The types of advertising that could be considered "harmful" in a sense if targeted toward children could be avoidable if the parent just turns off the tv.
Its not like all forms of advertising are good. Yes the types of advertisements that companies are broadcasting do need to have some sort of rules and regulations that come with them. For example the Joe Camel advertisement was a terrible one encouraging kids to smoke cigarettes, advertisements like those do need to be controlled and not allowed to air. But just because other ads like Kool-aid or Nerf encourage children to buy there products doesn't make them a terrible thing that needs to be stopped, because if you removed advertising to be viewed and understood by people when they are children then they can be much more easily manipulated and convinced by watching advertisements when they are older, which may have much worse results.

Kids Of America

   As it says in this essay, " The growth in children's advertising has been driving by efforts to increase not just current, but also, future consumption." The purpose of these commercials is to hook the children of the future at a young age and get them loyal to their product. As the author says brand loyalty may begin as early as the age of two because the children can recognize a brand logo before they can recognize the company's name. He seems to be against advertising to children with the facts he states such as the whole "Joe Camel" reference saying that almost all American six year olds knew who he was and that one third of all cigarettes illegally sold to minors were Camel brand. Although those facts are presented I feel like advertisements presented to our future are good, sure the cigarettes is bad but the ones to blame are the parents on this, if you are going to allow your children to consume this at such a crucial age, then you should teach them what's okay and what isn't for example Joe Camel and Camel Cigarettes wouldn't be something that kids should know about but maybe hooking children at a young age to something like a car company wouldn't hurt them. I know that if i was the head of a company i would target to children because if you have them loyal at a young age you have them loyal for as long as they live and they would probably pass down the loyalty to their children which means more money for your business as well as costumers. Eric Schlosser also explains that advertising to children gives them the nagging techniques, basically to get what they see and want. If this is your company that has kids nagging their parents then you are winning the battle because eventually the parents will give in and it's more money in your pocket. In my opinion kids are the perfect target for companies. What little kid growing up doesn't like McDonalds? I can't think of any and thats because McDonalds has the perfect way to hook children. They have the funny clown Ronald McDonald and all of his little friends that make McDonalds look wonderful and fun, they also have the happy meal. The happy meal, comes in a fun shaped box and comes with a toy, I remember being little and wanting McDonalds all the time so i could get a happy meal and get a toy. I wouldn't even finish all my food half the time but id still have the toy, and for McDonalds I don't think it matters weather or not the kids are eating the food just as long as they are making sales. They advertise their commercials targeting kids on channels such as cartoon network, Nickelodeon, and Disney channel where the kids will for sure see them and want what they are seeing. The commercials that we see on regular channels for McDonalds are completely different from those that are put on kid channels and this is because of target audience. Marketing to children at a young age is the way to go for a business to succeed past others just because of the loyal consumers you will have as time passes.
     - Bryce Musgrove

Schlosser's Response

While reading through "Kid Kustomers" by Eric Schlosser, I was beginning to disagree with him. Basically most of what he said was true about kids getting into advertisements. But the thing is that if the parents are well taking care of their own child and doesn't listen to them, then they wouldn't be doing all these kids of different child advertisements. I think that parents who spoil their kids too much are the ones not doing their job.

Kids these days are sure getting into watching tv, play games, and being on an internet. Why? I think it's because life these days are becoming very dull. When I was a kid I wasn't into these advertisements. We always had something to do, back at home, besides watching tv or playing games. We would always be out hours after hours playing outside games like bat, andy-andy over, kick the can etc. And during the summer we would be making snow mans, build igloos once in a great while, go sledding, and ice skating. Those times were so much fun when advertisements weren't so important to us. There weren't days were we would say "So Boring!" or "Wish we had something to do!" But of course we would watch some movies like Micky Mouse, Barney, and all those old time movies. We weren't as worse as these kids these days.

According to Schlosser's "Kids Kustomers," he says, " The internet has become another powerful tool for assembling data about children." He may be right, but i strongly disagree with him. Most children aren't on the internet just to give out their information. Who knows they might be playing games or working on their online homework. AS what I have seen, most children aren't even contemplating on internet. I've seen children reading books learning their alphabets or just reading kid's books. Not only this, but they could actually do something that could prepare them for education they're going to face as they starting maturing.

Parents has the responsibility of their own child. To teach them what is right and wrong. It seems to me that the parents own child is becoming their parents when it shouldn't become that way. Parenting may be a hard step to life, but they have to learn to cooperate with the child responsibly.

With all do respect, child advertising isn't that bad, unless if it gets out of hand.

Advertising Today

            The points that Schlosser gives do not give two sides to the argument; it seems as though he is extremely biased in his writings. He talks about all the bad aspects of advertising, but puts it in a way that sounds like he is just giving statistics. Today advertisements that are focused on children are mostly on television and are very influential, but it is not as big of a problem as he makes it out to be. Advertising is just like violence on television, if you do not want your kids to be manipulated by advertisements today then regulate the amount of TV they watch and what they watch. He makes it seem like the advertising companies are the only ones to blame, they are just doing their jobs and trying to make money.  The parents of children today need to try and educate their kids on what is true and what isn’t. He said that many children can’t tell the difference between advertising and programs on television. It still sounds like parents aren’t paying enough attention to their children and educating them on the advertisements today. Parents are just too busy for their children so they just try to buy their affection with toys that are advertised on the TV. The children don’t know any better, they are easily manipulated by the ads and the parents aren’t there when those television shows and programs are there at all times of the day.  Parents nowadays use the TV as a babysitter and rely on it to keep them occupied while they do their work or personal activities. This makes it very difficult to control what their children watch as they are distracted by these other matters.

To say that child advertising isn’t all bad is not the point that I’m trying to get across; there are certainly people that go about it all wrong. Advertising is a right that people have to show off their product, if they don’t do that then how will people even know what they want to buy and why. The only problem is that advertising just needs to be regulated in the sense that children can’t be manipulated into giving out personal information without parental consent on the internet or by phone. When Schlosser talked about the kind of characters that advertisers use like Joe Camel or Ronald McDonald and how children are able to recognize them as easily as Mickey Mouse. Isn’t Mickey Mouse just some character that Walt Disney designed as a way to advertise to children and to get the children to want and buy Disney products and go to Disneyland or Disney World? I can remember back when I was a child and how I used some of those nagging techniques to get my parents to buy Disney movies and take my brother and me to Disneyland. The advertising business has brought about competition to make products better and create new ways to advertise. All in all advertising is an important part of our society and it benefits us as a whole. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory - A Different View

Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory - A Different View

Mr. Daisey definitely portrays the misery of the factory workers in Shenzhen, China, that it would be hard not to be moved  and there is no doubt that his accounts are factual to a degree. The question arises as to what can be done, and does the Western world have the right to force China to conform to their standards. Americans as do most human beings have this inborn believe that the way they do this is the right way and no one else is doing it right. With this in mind, it would be beneficial to look at the evolution  of Democracy and Capitalism.

It was not that far in the past at the beginning of the industrial revelation , that the USA did not have unions and the factories employed children sometimes younger than Mr. Daisey mentioned. Conditions were much worse than Mr. Daisey mentioned in his presentation, with children working in underground coal mines with safety almost non-existing. The US government opposed unions at first linking them with communism  and Marxist. There were bloody and sometimes fatal encounters with the unions by the police. Teamsters used to sit up on hills shooting truck drivers in the steel mill as they went from building to building, and others perched on over passes shooting non-union truckers. Should Americans go over to China and start pushing non-government unions and more than likely a bloodshed. Or should the Chinese be left alone for the own evolution to take place. It has been said that "Before you condemn another first look in the mirror". Americans do not have a very pretty history when they look in their mirror. True things are much better today than the past so the tendency is to treat China as a child and try to make things better, but as a child rarely hears the parents advice and have to learn things for themselves so will China have to learn for herself.

Cultural interference is possibly the number one reason so many countries around the world hate Americans. Even with in the USA the results of cultural interference can be seen. Most presently the cultures of Alaska have suffered this interference, with alcoholism, suicides, dislocations, and more. Alaska natives have a saying, "The only good thing the white man has brought to Alaska was the common language". The common consensus in America is the only good government is Democracy, and the only good money system is capitalism. However there are monarchs that have better lives than US citizen as a whole. True they are the exception but it shows the falsify of the thinking.

It would be great if it were possible to make everything in China right and there was no greed in the world, and the world was filled with love, love, love! Ok wake up and smell the menure the world stinks, but before trying to clean up the neighbors yard shuvel the menure out of yours.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Is google making us stupid:response

I wouldnt say directly that google is making us stupid but i will say that it is making the world a lot more lazy. Yes while google is very helpful it definitely takes the excitment factor out of learning on your own. Most kids today would rather type a question into google and wait for a response as opposed to picking up the book that contains the answer. Many times i find myself on google but only when it is my absolute late option which isnt very often. In the article i read a few of his refrences and they made complete sense as to how the younger or technology age is directly affecting the newer generation of children coming up in school these days. These children lack the basic principles of problem solving which you cannot clearly learn on a computer because i believe that it first comes from common sense then from a good education that many of them will not recieve because they lack the drive to recieve the proper education. The writer himself even leaves this as an open-ended argument because there is no proven state as to it making us stupid but really just poses the question really looking for opinions and answers to what he believes. I have seen first hand the laziness that comes with google which is no fault of the creator but of the codependent user. At no time in life will "the information highway" replace the need for education and to be honest it actually takes away from the process by giving people the easy way out. By simply taking a question that can simply be researched with a good book they choose to take the time and look it up on the internet. What is there to gain from that? If we actually take the time to think about how long it could possibly take to find answers on book pages as opposed to how long it took to find something on google we will realuze that in the end we spend MORE time with google or at least an equal amount of time. Google is so vague and generalized that when you do in fact find the answer you were originally looking for you may have gone through about 10 or so links that lead to more links which is really a waste of time. I wonder how most tech addicts would have survived in a time where there were only books and wisdom to refer to.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Reading Response #3 - Advertising and Children

For this weekend's reading response we will be reading Eric Schlosser's "Kid Kustomers". You can find it in 50 Essays, our required text for the semester, from pages 353-358.

Read Schlosser's essay closely and pay attention to any rhetorical strategies or devices being used, and any kind of ethical, moral, or logical appeals that the author is trying to make. The response itself is relatively straight forward: I was you to disagree with Schlosser.

In a 500-word response post, create an argument that runs counter to Schlosser's. This doesn't simply mean that you have to argue that child advertising is great (although you could make that argument), but rather means that you have to engage directly with Schlosser's points and develop an argument against him. I am also asking that you bring in one sentence from your response that you feel comfortable sharing with the class for Tuesday's class session. Be creative!

This blog post is due Tuesday, February 28th at 9:45 AM.

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Attempt

O K here I go...My attempt to post a real blog not a comment.
I realize the reason it's taken me so long to post this blog is because there are so many way to look at Mr. Daisy's story.  So it's going to be hard to to wright because every time I bring up an issue I want to agree yet disagree. Like for instance, why would people even go to work under those condition's?  Suicide, non-payment for over-time, black listed, chemical safety issues like N-hexane and inhumane living area's.  So as I think...why in the world would people live like this or why are we letting people get treated like this, I realize I am thinking like this because I'm American.  These people in Shenzhen are maybe really great full for Foxcon.  They don't have union's like we do let alone a it's completely against the law.  So until they want help were just going to have mind are own business.  
Mr.Daisy brings up a sad issue.  Of course we are still going want are I phones, I mac's and I pad's were only human, sadly to say.  To make factories in the united states just wont work I guess.  For one it cost to much to pay labor.  For two it will put Shenzhen's people out off work.  For three like I said before were obligated to mind our business....right? or wrong? Like I said before their is always two ways to look at this issue.  
So this is as good as it gets for me on this blog.  Like I said Mr. Daisy brings up a sad issue.  I mean their's not much more I can say, yes this is a problem or is it.  If it is or not their is nothing I can do about, I mean ya I own a Iphone but what can I do...feel bad about it.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory

Listening to Mr.Daisey was very interesting and much like Mr.Daisey I hadn’t thought about how actual apple products were made, I thought much like him I thought “Oh little robots put them together.” I really hadn’t thought much of it. I think it’s absurd how the workers are treated at these factories in China.
 Listening to Mr.Daisey I couldn’t help but think why our all our products coming from Shenzhen? Why do we let all our industry go over there? Why can’t we have apple build a factory here? There are simple answers that answer these questions. Government and taxes are the two big answers. Corporate tax rate plays a big part in where these factories are built. China has the second lowest corporate tax rate which makes building factories there appealing. In my opinion it’s not the corporations that are at fault, it’s a communist country. You can not protest, you can not have unions except for the “unions” run by the government, this allows corporations and the government it’s self to abuse its people in such ways as Mr.Daisey presented and many more. This being said I don’t agree with Mr.Daisey when he talks about how regulations will help, regulations will only let more abuse come in, and as seen with auditors the factories, just find ways around them anyways.
For American’s to stop buying products from China, or from any businesses that abuse peoples rights, would greatly affect them. Of course not everyone will, for the few people who will stop buying their products many people will keep buying them. Also we could build our industry back up to compete with them. Having factories over here we could make sure our workers are treated right. The people in the end are what will affect and make changes. People voicing out would be better than nothing BUT like I said building factories over here would be the best option. To do that the main things we would have to do our cut regulations and lower the corporate tax rate, having factories over here would also give our people who our out of jobs, work.
I believe that even though these circumstances are very sad, these workers are probably very grateful for having their job at the factory. If these factories were to be shut down they would be out of jobs. Of course they could have these jobs; with better conditions. We in America can take steps to try to help but sadly can not do much since it’s not our own country.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Our definition of a thesis

Here is our collaboratively developed thesis statement definition. I hope you find it useful while drafting your essays over the weekend:

Thesis statement: A theory, 1 sentence to 5 sentences in length, that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proven through factual evidence, used as an ideological basis for your paper; it's an appetizer before your essay.

I have also created a new page on our class website where you can access important handouts and assignments. The assignment sheet for the first essay is posted there. If you have happened to misplace your handout or weren't in class to receive one, you can find it there.

I also want to take a moment to say that I thought you guys had some great topics developing in class today, and I'm very excited about reading your essays.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Well when I first listened to this, I was a little bit shocked, but not surprised. I thought to myself, "12 years old? Really!". I think its sad for a number of reasons. First the age of some of the workers obviously is bothersome. As a mother and coming from a very different cultural background, I think its a sad thing to think of children as young as twelve being robbed of their childhood to go to work for such a large company. I worked when I was 14, however, it was much different work. I worked in a family owned school supply store and only for a couple hours here and there on the weekends after my school work was completed. That was by choice to go to work. I was never forced. Another thing that is a little upsetting is the number of hours worked by all of these workers. If you go to the Foxconn's website it says that they don't allow their workers to work more than 60 hours a week unless in some unusual circumstance which, if Daisey's resources are correct, is inaccurate by far. I thought it was sad thinking of these people with families and I was wondering how they could truly be happy. I couldn't imagine going to work for 16 hours coming home to a spouse and children and having quality time with them. It would be hard to have a balanced life. I struggle with going to school full time, working with Rainbow(non profit organization), taking care of my son, and singing in the praise band at my church, and I'm not even pulling 16 hour days.
Another thing is the dormitories that he spoke of. The 12x12 rooms with 13-14 people in them if I recall correctly. Seems neglectful.
Then to hear about the person that died after working a 34(?) hour shift. That's just terrible. I can't even imagine. I do understand that the US cannot tell these factories how to run, but I am a little disappointed that we continue to do business with companies that have such low standards. I think a lot of it is based off of greed. Greed on both sides, US and China. Foxconn's profit has steadily increased by about 10 billion US dollars each year for the last 5 years. I'm thinking this is a huge part of their reason to try to improve their production rate, even if just by seconds.
Like I stated earlier, I'm a little bit shocked. I do own an iPhone and a laptop. Although I will keep them and will continue to use both of them, I will now keep in mind every time I use them the hard work that was put into them to make them, and will now always remember this monologue? given by Mr.Daisey.


Awesome Responses

Just wanted to take a moment this morning to say that everyone's recent response posts have been really great. I'm excited for the conversation this morning, as it seems we have a lot of interesting, articulate, and impassioned opinions on the matter. Keep up the good work!

I know that Dustin and a few others mentioned the fact that after Mike's monologue there is some discussion, fact-checking, and also some opposing arguments to what Mike's story. One of the major ones (and one of the folks interviewed at the end of the program) is Nicholas Kristoff, author of this New York Times article entitled "Two Cheers for Sweatshops".

I think it is a worthwhile read for you guys who are interested in this issue regardless of how you feel about labor conditions in China. Particularly for those of you who vehemently feel that labor conditions in China are in need of reform, Kristoff's article is a good place to find an articulation of counter-arguments that you are inevitably going to need to address.

Again, I just wanted to say that I'm really glad that you guys responded so passionately to this issue. See you in class this morning!

Mr. Daisy and the Apple: Response

Let me start by saying that this was one of the weirdest articles. It's weird because I have never read an article were you do not need to read, but you can listen instead. A monologue? That is really interesting. But that is not what i want to talk about. I want to talk about the cruel and intense working conditions these Chinese employers go through.Who would have ever thought that every necessity we use today is made in China, wait no not China, Shenzhen. A city bigger than New York City and I had no clue this place ever existed or what this place was. I'm sitting here typing up my post and still thinking that the laptop I'm using is not made by machines. This laptop and every other electronic I use is made by hand, the hands of every Chinese worker who spend 12-14 hours a day making the things we use today, without taking any breaks. And to know that some of them even commit suicide because of extreme working conditions or even died working a 34 hour shift is just awful. The reports about this company Foxconn is not in my favor at all. To have these Chinese employers work for that long non stop is one thing, but having some workers who are 12 years of age is another. I don't get why no one checks the age of every worker and it is obvious that Foxconn doesn't care. I say this because Foxconn is not doing anything about the way their employees work. They don't do anything about workers using such hazardous/dangerous chemical like N-hexane to clean the screens of every iphone, knowing that this chemical can cause serious health conditions. Even the union can't do much at all, because eventually when they get caught every member or person affiliated with the union will end up in prison anyway. There is no way out of things but to quit and who would want to do that. Every Chinese employee may hate this job but they need it in order to feed their families and themselves. None of them want to take the risk of  getting fired. I'm just absolutely stunned the way these Chinese workers work and I can't stop but think the pain they go through, knowing that maybe there is something we could do abou it. But then we shouldn't because we would eventually make matters worse and every chinese worker can lose their jobs.

Will it be you who's next?

In a world that has become run over and boiling with consumerism the truth is that Mike Daisey's story is scary and hits a little too close to home. Chinese culture has always been portrayed as hard working and proud. It is in their nature to do more than their share, they have been conditioned to do so, but how far is too far? Are the atrocities in Daisey's story slowly seeping their way into America? How long do we have? Is there anything we can do about it? Some say that China is the next rising star. So how long is it until we are the expendable parts making products for the rest of the nation. I can say from personal experience that parts and bits, no matter how small, of this type of labor abuse are slowly coming our way. I had a job at a major fast food chain, and have another now at a different location, and I can tell you that I  know how it feels to be treated like a machine. To the extent that is portrayed in Mikes story? Well no, not even close, but listening to him talk and making the connections in our own society with those of the Chinese factories has chilled me. Working my way over 80 hours a pay, being refused over time, and knowing the impending consequences of going to the labor board, I found myself relating to the woman in this story. I wont get blacklisted, made to work with harmful neurotoxins,or stuffed into a crowded twelve by twelve room with 14 other people, at least not yet anyway. As long as drive thru time stayed down and I was constantly doing something for nine hours, on my second week without a day off, and kept my mouth shut about how I wasn't getting paid for it, everything was fine. Everything has to have a beginning however, and no one knows how long it is before the greed of major corporations over runs our human rights. The thing is I don't believe there is anything an average middle class citizen can do about it, neither here nor there, and from my view they are the only ones that seem to care. I'm not saying its an impending doom coming into American business, but I am saying that there is a great risk if everything is not kept in balance. Corporations run for profit. Money, money, money is what its all about. It only takes one wrong person in a position of power to start throwing middle class citizens into a factory making products for those better off.  The factory conditions in China are astoundingly horrid even in the world we live in today. Like Mike, I have never once thought about where my laptop came from, who's handled my IPhone, who made my T.V, and thinking about it now, I have a hard time grasping the concept that hundreds of thousands of workers have made almost everything I'm touching. Some working to exhaustion or even death. Could one of them have touched the phone the sits mere inches away from my fingers? The thought makes me cringe. Where are the people that made my things? Are they gone, dead, paralyzed from harmful chemicals? Are they out on the streets because they cant get a job for only wanting what they rightfully worked for? Why haven't I asked these questions before? I know why, because I'm selfish. Like most of consumers I didn't care. I had what I wanted, even if the people that made it have never had a chance to one themselves. Its a sad fact of life. Does it make it OK? Of course not. Nothing will change however, until someone in power stands up and starts the change, but its like the saying goes, "Out of sight, out of mind". Right?

The Truth.

            Everything comes from China. Well not literally everything but it is easy to think so. Child labor and poor working conditions is prevalent in much of the Chinese industrial workplaces in which our products are assembled. It was interesting to ponder the idea that my computer and my phone were both manufactured in a similar factory mentioned by Mr. Daisy. Visualizing America as a sole producer of computer products is a difficult thought. American labor is expensive and not as abundant as Chinese labor where there are millions of working hands. American companies like Apple are capable of making more money with inexpensive labor costs. As consumers we spend relatively less compared to what it would cost to manufacture the product in America.
            I found it fascinating that Mr. Daisy was able to talk to so many workers and hear all their experiences. The differential in American and and Chinese work facilities is shocking. Even though China is primarily socialist, their communist colors really show in their factories. An American really can’t fathom what it would be like to get black listed in China. Middle classed Chinese union members could potentially be prosecuted and black listed, inevitably making it so that they can no longer work and make a living. What’s even more amazing is that some Chinese factories like Foxconn have facility personnel equivalent to the population of a city.
            Mike Daisy didn’t shine much of a positive perspective on the Chinese work condition. He made it evident that there were injuries and suicides but he didn’t mention the demand for work. Imagine applying for a job when there are twenty or more people applying for the same job. In most cases workers are expendable. Therefore it is crucial for people to put up with the working conditions or have no conditions to go along with the work because they have no job. Sadly work is usually the only option. Another thing to consider is maybe the working conditions don’t actually seem that bad to the workers as they seem to us through our interpretation of Mikes recording. These foreign Multi-million dollar corporations having us Americans as popular consumers is what’s creating jobs and expanding the Chinese blade runner empire. 
            Mr. Daisy’s approach to his opinion of apple technology was different, but it was somewhat effective information nonetheless. Much of his statements are unsupported, all Michael really has is a story. Honestly I love my apple products, and many other foreign products that were probably made in a sweatshop. The fact of the matter is I won’t dis-continue using something if it was made by hand in an undeveloped country under some low lighting. Even though this work is distasteful, somebody has to do it to keep the consumer and the producer in order. Some places have even worse working conditions. Imagine if Mr. Daisy was infatuated with Diamonds and he decided to wander over to Africa to learn where they came from.

Mr Daisey and the Apple Factory

Mr Daisey and the Apple Factory Response

    It may be a well-known fact that nearly everything we consume is manufactured in Asia, but it is obviously still something that is not talked about enough. Why is it that the average North American doesn’t know the the city of Shenzhen as the place where most of their technology is produced? Why are we so shocked when we hear about the dreadful conditions of the workplace in cities like this? Maybe if the subject was breached more often and talked about as earnestly as  Mike Daisey does, we would be more educated about this issue and  would be more resolved to put an end to it.
     Mike Daisey presents this subject to his audience is in such a way that it forces us to look critically at mass production, our purchasing power and to reconsider some of the notions we have about where our material goods come from. He fully engages the audience with his very personal experiences of traveling to manufacturing plants in China, and learning more about the lives of the workers. Daisey is witty, astute and yet very earnest when talking about this weighty topic. He appeals to our sense of humor and yet still manages to convey the import of this subject.
    Like Daisey, I love the suave simplicity of apple products, and, also like Daisey, when I found out a couple years ago that they were made in China, I was disappointed in a company I previously held in such high esteem. It was moving to hear about Mike Daisey’s experiences actually visiting the people who make these everyday items. Though this subject was not new to me, it served as an important reminder for an issue which we tend to forget about too easily.
    This article is especially relevant, with China rising as the next superpower, and most of the western world relying on it for cheap labour. All too often we fail to question where items we consume everyday come from, what conditions or chemicals they’ve been exposed to, and how their production has effected the environment and the people who make them. We need to curb our greed and the idea that the possession of more material objects makes our life better. People need to be more willing to pay for legal labour that produces quality, as well as fair conditions for workers. Companies need to be more strict when they outsource labour, and not allow worker’s rights to be violated. Like us, perhaps companies like Apple simply skim over the details and easily forget that there are factories such as those in Shenzhen in their employ. But  ‘forgetting’ doesn’t seem like a good enough excuse. Not many people could do what Mike Daisey did and actually pursue this issue to its source. 
    As human beings we are usually too wrapped up in our own individual lives to give much though to the lives of people who we’ve never met. There is nothing wrong with this, however I think we should take the time to consider how our relatively rich, democratic, western lifestyle is made possible by cheap child labour and corruption, and that we must try to change this.

Everybody has an agenda

I have read a few of the posts so far and frankly I am a little concerned. I am concerned about how quickly people are to take someone's word at face value just because they have a show or an article on the internet. As I was listening to Mike Daisy one fact kept screaming loudly in my mind. The guy is an entertainer! He is not a reporter or a journalist or an academic. Notice where the excerpt we listened was pulled from, i.e. the theater!
We have been talking a lot about academic genre and objectivity. I assure you that objectivity was not something that Mike Daisey was concerned about. Do you know why? Because he would be out of a job, that is why! Granted he is a masterful story teller. Absolutely flawless, I only wish I had half the storytelling capacity that he has. He had me intrigued. He had me engaged and on the edge of my seat just waiting to hear what he had to say next.
However, objectivity was not his concern. He is an entertainer. He makes his money by telling stories. He went to China in search of a story and he found one. He found a very emotionally charged and shocking story. We all have to get paid. There is no way around that. Some people are able to get paid while seemingly contributing to society in a very positive way. Bravo to Mike Daisey for having his cake and eating it too! Yet it is ignorant to pass him off as totally unbiased, objective, and altruistic. 
After the excerpt by Daisey a much more academic and objective analysis was given by Ira Glass, the host of the show This American Life. He gave a lot of credence to Daisey's viewpoint but he also considered other sides of the coin. For instance, he interviewed Nicholas Kristof, columnist for the New York Times, who argued that these manufacturing plants are actually beneficial to Chinese society. These factories are bringing wages up, creating a housing market, and creating a middle class by getting people out of the rice patties.
I am under no illusion that human rights are indeed being violated in many sweatshops in China and other Asian countries. I think it is unfortunate and I wish it weren't so. However, I think it is intellectually lazy to conveniently point the finger at the "evil" corporations like Apple or Dell or pick your flavor. We live in a time where Corporate greed and crony capitalism are constantly in the headlines. In an economy where unemployment is rampant people want blood. They want to "stick it to the man" on Wall Street. Guess what, Daisey is capitalizing on this! He is no fool. He knows what people will pay good money to hear. Ironically, he is profiting from the very system he is criticizing.
As Glass pointed out, Apple is taking measures to hold these suppliers accountable. I am sure many would make the argument that Apple and other Corporations are not doing enough. In that vein I think it would be more productive to turn our indignation towards the government of China. It is their responsibility to take care of their people. Do you know how much influence an American corporation has on the labor laws on foreign soil? The answer is slim to none with emphasis on none.
As the Industrial Revolution came on the scene the United States had to wrestle with similar issues. Our government stepped up to protect workers. It is time China and other Asian governments step up and do the same. 

Good, or Bad, which is greater?

I find it very ironic indeed to be listening to the radio show from the speakers of my Macbook Pro, with my Ipod Nanos charging within my reach.

As the recording covered, there are indeed pros and cons to the sweatshops of China and elsewhere.  All it depends on is whether you see it as for the "Greater Good", or the "Greater Evil".  Just consider for a moment that he stated that Foxconn alone employed 140 thousand people.  What then, would those people be doing, if it weren't for the work they got from the factory?  Especially the children who were working there...  How many of the girls who were employed there would likely be in the trade of selling their very bodies for the money they needed?  But then, if you weigh that with the health issues that they will face after a prolonged amount of time doing the same old meticulous actions over and over again each day, which do you believe to be the heavier stone on the scale?

But then again, is there ever going to be one person whose moral scale is not tipped by some sort of bias?  Like Sir Bedivere's scale on Monty Python and The Quest For The Holy Grail, I don't think anybody's scale to be true, but is instead influenced heavily, perhaps by religion, their outlook on life, or any other possible variable that would tip it.

Personally, I think my scale to be ever so slightly tipped towards the rights of the employees, though it is conflicted by my cynical outlook on life and what I see as the other dark paths that they could likely go down, such as whoring and drugs.  But I find myself moved by the tales of the sufferings of another human being, and by mentally placing myself in their shoes.

Reading through the posts of the other contributors, I see that the majority of them are more supportive of the employees as well.  Then there are two that are seemingly supportive of the factories' positions, which I can really understand what their though processes may be.  Then, I don't know how, but there is also one post that states that the author concluded that it was about the danger that Apple products may be in due to the flak that they are receiving in such publications as this one.  So I find myself agreeing most with the former, agreeing slightly and understanding the second, and then left confused and completely lost by the latter.

Honestly, I don't think I will ever be able to go to such extremes such as completely swearing off such items as my MP3 players and Laptop, especially when my college education weighs so heavily on the latter.  Although I have considered leaving the greater part of society behind to live outside of it's influence and within the greatness of the wild, it would only be an extreme solution that I would resort to in order to make myself live a healthier lifestyle, considering I don't survive the trials of the modern world's stressful requirements.  Not to mention the fact that I personally find myself more mentally adept for a simpler, less restricted, and even a more savage age.