In yesterday's Times, Rob Walker discusses the need for increased transparency and accountability in our designed goods in "Where Do Gadgets Really Come From?" Here's a sample:
On the other hand, every so often there's a stark reminder of how opaque the relationship between us and our many purchases remains. You might own a device made by Dell, Hewlett-Packard or Apple, for instance, but had you heard of Foxconn Technology before multiple suicides by workers became a big news story? Foxconn's factories in Shenzhen, China, with an estimated 400,000 employees, manufacture products for all three of those familiar tech names; the company has also reportedly made devices, equipment or components for Nintendo, Amazon, Cisco and others. It's surprising enough, perhaps, that objects from such distinct brands are all produced by a single company. And as I read the stories speculating about whether working conditions played some role in the bizarre rash of suicides, I considered my own ever-proliferating gadget cache, wondering if any of my electronics came from a Foxconn facility.