Mike Daisey This American Life

After listening to Mike Daisey’s monologue on the Foxconn factories in China, there was one comment he made that stood out amongst the rest. It came within the first few minutes of his speech. Like he said, everyone knows that almost all of the technological products that we use in the United States are made in other countries around the world, mostly in China. But that’s about it. Everyone knows that the Eiffel Tower is in Paris or the Coliseum is in Rome, which has no effect on our daily lives, but no one knows where the devices we use constantly throughout every day of our lives originates.  That there is a single city in China that is responsible for manufacturing all the electronics we use daily. In many ways, Shenzhen is one of the most important cities in the world to Americans. Yet the majority of us, including myself, have never heard of it. I am sitting here typing this on my Apple computer with my iPhone right next to me and I had no clue where they actually were made. China is a massive country and to say something is made in China is incredibly vague and almost ignorant. Imagine someone from outside the United States, who is a reasonably educated person, saying that the only thing they know about White House is that it is in America and not that it is in Washington D.C. or it is where the president lives. You would probably look at them a little funny. To me, it is baffling that there is this city that so few have heard that plays such a major part in our lives.

The reason that comment was the most interesting to me from Mike Daisey’s monologue was because I already knew about the working conditions in these sweatshops in China. I do not know for certain, but I feel that most Americans know this as well. I find it hard to believe that there are people in America that think that these workers in China are getting treating like workers in the United States. I mean that is the reason the factories are over there and not here in the United States. Although most people know about these poor working conditions, it is not something that people want to think about. You would go crazy if every time you opened your computer or looked at your phone you thought of all the workers in China that put them together with their bare hands.

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Friedman Freeman Blog

This past summer I interned at CIGNA, which is a multinational health insurance company, in their corporate accounting department. From my experience there, I believe that they very much operate under shareholder management as opposed to stakeholder management. This was probably accentuated because I was working in the accounting and finance department where the bottom-line is the most important thing to them, but nonetheless it seemed to be company wide attitude. During my time there, I was lucky enough to be invited by my boss to a series of meetings with high-level executives where they discussed what special items they needed to disclose in the second quarter earnings release. In the final meeting, the CEO was present and they presented to him what special items they decided to disclose and the only part that he cared about was how everything was worded to look the best for the shareholders.

 Milton Friedman would believe that CIGNA is operating socially responsibly because they are using shareholder management, and everything they are doing is to increase their profits within the rules and regulations of their industry. Executives are not acting for themselves by using shareholders’ money to do what they believe is socially responsible.