If you haven't listened to this week's This American Life episode, "Retraction", go listen to it. If you can't, at least read the transcript, though you really have to listen to Ira Glass and Mike Daisey to get the full impact. It's the most gripping radio (or podcast) you'll hear all year, even more so than the original one about working conditions in Chinese factory that produce Apple products. Few observations: * Ira Glass is audibly pissed, even though he doesn't raise his voice and he can't speak faster than he normally does. * Mike Daisey is, to be polite, a piece of shit. He can't get himself to admit that he lied, and he's only sorry that the truth got out, not that he told lies (he almost says as much). * Though I think he realizes that he does more to harm the cause he claim to care about so much. * People are willing to believe the worst about China and Apple. I know I was. * Interesting point by the New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg, who did the investigative reporting about Chinese factories - Apple and other electronics manufacturers don't choose China for the cheap labor. They choose China for the proximity of the supply chain (it's that theory that got Krugman his Nobel Prize). * Apple's complicity in the working conditions is kinda complicated. They're the biggest client for these Chinese factories, but they're hardly the only ones. Even if you stop buying Apple products, you're still going to be using stuff made by Foxconn and other Southern Chinese sweatshops. And they're probably the most proactive and transparent of all US manufacturers about working conditions in China (though the competition there isn't all that great). That said, if they told Chinese factories to get 60+ hour workweeks down to zero, they could get pretty close (and when they have demanded changes, changes have happened). * There's also the issue of our role as consumers. Even with the suicides and the labor conditions, I think the net result is that life is better for people in Shenzhen because of Apple's investment in the area. But Duhigg lays it out, we as a society decided a long time ago that we don't mistreat workers, yet we're willing to accept what we find unacceptable as long as it's on another continent.