Steven Paul Jobs, the God to many, is not my hero and never will attain such a position. He has been eulogized as the savior of the modern world. Some are even saying that the world would not have been the same without him. Now that three weeks have passed since his demise, it is time to look beyond the glorification and dissect some hidden aspects of his life. He could have changed the world but he chose to think like the others.
Jobs was truly a genius. There is no questioning his contribution to computers, media and cellular technology. He changed the way we make calls, listen to music and watch our favorite movies. He also inspired us to go for the kill instead of staying in a deep slumber. What if he had not done those things? Would we still have been living in the 1990s with Sony walk-men, bulky antenna phones and desktop computers? No. We would still have access to the latest gadgets, smartphones and tablets. True that there would have been no iPads but we would have enjoyed the bliss of ignorance nonetheless.
Let's face the facts. Apple is not the only technology company. There are hundreds of them. And almost all of them are the same when it comes to fair trade policies. It is surprising to notice that hardly anyone has mentioned the not-so-glorious labor record of Apple. How many of you have heard the stories of inhumane working conditions, frequent suicidal attempts and poor wages at the outsourced Apple units? Heck, even child labor was an issue in some of Apple factories. The information may look trivial to some but being from a third world country, I cannot ignore such news.
In a rush for making the cheapest products - thus ensuring the maximum profits - Jobs and others like him did not pay attention to people who were making them rich. In his biography, we find little, if any, mention of philanthropy. According to a report published in the Huff, his close friends also had no clue of that.
We should respect the choices he made in his life. Let's throw the question of philanthropy out of the window. Let's not even put his personal life under the microscope though Maureen Dowd of The New York Times has exactly done that. We cannot, however, ignore the workers toiling day and night in Apple production units for $1 an hour.
Here was a man who could have set new precedents in responsible outsourcing practices. Given his charisma, people would have agreed to paying $10 more on an iPad if, in return, the money went to improving working conditions in China. In setting up schools and hospitals for the workers. In restarting the philanthropy programs at Apple. Jobs would have convinced us all, wouldn't he? He could have forced other companies to change their thinking.
Alas, he did not do that. He did not chart his own course. His only response to reports of workers' suicide in China was that they were "not sweatshops." Let us respect his aversion to philanthropy. Let us not overlook the working conditions in outsourced units. People who made him the icon he is are slaving in modern concentration camps with 80-hours week. They are paid pittance for their hard labor and live in cramped dormitories. Until their conditions are not visibly improved, we can delay the canonization of Jobs.
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