Letter to the Editor Oct. 24

Linda Selover, Reader

In response to “Steve Jobs deserves no mourning“.

I think that Benjamin Brutus Gruey is way off base in his “opinion” on Steve Jobs.
Using this writer’s logic, you might as well condemn Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison, along with every corporation who has products manufactured in China and other countries and sold in the USA.
To condemn one person because of working conditions of Chinese factories is ridiculous, especially since many, if not most, of the factories in China work under conditions that we would find inhumane and politically incorrect.
Enslaved by technology?
Most Chinese people would not consider themselves “enslaved”  or “shackled” by a cell phone, a computer or Internet service; they would consider themselves “liberated” by these electronic gadgets.
I have lived and worked in China. Few people ever had “land-line” phones.
However, cell phones, computers, and the Internet are what have connected the Chinese people to the rest of the modern world, and it broke down 30 plus years of isolation for the Chinese people. Once the door was opened, and they could see what the rest of the world was really like, the Chinese government had to change.
They now have access to each other and the rest of the world.
Yes, factory workers around the world (including the U.S.), do repetetive work that is boring, unchallenging, and sometimes dangerous for long hours. Not too far back in our history, we had child laborers in US factories, and we still have “sweat” shops that operate illegally.
As individuals and as a nation, we still need to be vigilent to demand humane and safe labor laws at home and to strongly encourage other countries to establish humane and safe working conditions for all types of work situations, including factories and mines.
American companies can contract to have things made in other countries and they can put up the money to build factories, but they do not really have “ownership and control” as they would have here in the U.S. The Chinese have “abused” their peasant workers for thousands of years. However, the new generations of workers  who have been raised with cell phones and computers will refuse to work in the same manner as their parents and grandparents, and the Chinese government will finally be forced to deal with human rights issues and their labor laws.
If someone wants to make a statement against Chinese factories:  Don’t buy anything made in China, be vocal about that, and write to all of the corporations who contract for products to be made there,  and to the politicians who encouraged manufacturing to move off to developing countries.
However, condemning Steve Jobs for labor laws in China is way off base.
-Linda Selover, Adjunct ESL Instructor