Apple Ethics Questioned

Image by Baylen Whitfield

Written Lauren Buser. Media by Baylen Whitfield. [divide]

Image by Baylen Whitfield
Image by Baylen Whitfield

Technology and technological advances are an important asset to day-to-day life. Apple products have become a very large company and a well-known name brand across the world. Apple Inc.’s ethics have been questioned since 2011, due to maltreatment of employees. We, as customers of these products, should be cautious and aware of such events.


Ethics Theories

Most companies follow what is called the four ethics principles or theories. This consists of four simplified categories of how ethics is generally measured. These include respect for autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence and justice. Autonomy is the ability to make a decision on your own. Ethically, this is a company’s respect for an employee’s ability to make their own decisions. Beneficence is the practice of striving for good in all actions. Nonmaleficence is the obligation to do no harm to others. Finally, the principle of justice is the obligation to give others the things that are owed to them or what they deserve.


Wages, Overtime, and Unsettling Conditions

In 2011, the Apple Inc. factories in China began to hire many employees, about 500,000, to build the company’s profits. The company began to underpay employees, as well as act in some unethical ways. The employees began to receive only around $17 to $22 for a full day’s work. Each employee, by Chinese law, was only able to work a maximum of 36 hours overtime each month but Apple Inc. ignored the law and had employees working nearly 98 hours overtime. In order to keep up with demand, Apple Inc. built dormitories for the employees that held 24 people in each room. This made it quite easy for factories to keep up with demands as they could be woken up at any time to work. However, it did not make living situations nor financial binds any better for workers.


What this Means for YOU

As a consumer, what you purchase is what you choose to support. Apple Inc. has been accused of severe employee abuse, causing controversy for the company. Apple is based in China, where the laws for employee care are not as strict as in the United States. While cheap labor works well for a company, it is never a good choice for employees and can potentially ruin the company later on. Purchasing products from specific stores and businesses, giving your money to their products and services, means that they are getting your vote to continue with the actions and methods they are currently using. As a young generation, it is up to us to be aware of the advances around us, as well as the ethics behind such companies.

It is important to remember that even as one person, you have power. Companies like Apple Inc. rely on consumers in order to thrive. This means that you have the ability to change how a corporation does things. In a case like this, refusing to purchase products in order to spread awareness has the potential to do big things.



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