Retraction: A Place for Truth and for Fiction

I posted this blog last week introducing the similarities between The Jungle by Upton Sinclair and a This American Life show broadcast in January,  purportedly about the Foxconn factories that make Apple products in China.

The very next day, on March 16th, in this show, This American Life retracted the January show because the main report upon which it was based contained numerous fabrications.

I had planned to write a follow up post this week identifying the many similarities between This American Life’s report and The Jungle; migrant workers, poverty traps, collusion between government and industry, …

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Mr. Daisey and The Jungle: Intersections and Juxtapositions

Earlier in February I read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.  I collect old books and had recently bought myself a first edition copy from 1906.

The Jungle is an expose of the appalling conditions in the Chicago meat packing industry in the opening decade of the last century. Told through the eyes of the proud patriarch of an immigrant family from Lithuania, it was a classic of its time and an enduring classic of CSR literature.

Thank goodness we have safeguards in place now and are beyond that. Or are we?

Partway through reading the book, I found myself in the gym …

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What are the Obligations of a Global Company ?

A two page article starting on the front cover of the main section of Sunday’s New York Times addresses why the US lost out on the assembly work for Apple’s iPhone. The article raises some important questions about corporate responsibility, starting with the implied responsibility of a company to create jobs in its home country. In responding to the jobs going to China,  Betsey Stevenson, the chief economist at the US Labor Department until last September is quoted as saying

 

“Companies once felt an obligation to support American workers, even when it wasn’t the best financial choice.

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