Wired on iPhone factories in China


Wired magazine had a sensationalist cover earlier this year:

1 Million Workers. 90 Million iPhones. 17 Suicides. Who’s to Blame?

In the article it says these 17 suicide occurred over the "past half decade" – implying a suicide rate of 3.4 per million people.

According to Wikipedia, throughout China the suicide rate is 66 a tragic people per year per 1M people:
If anything, the numbers would suggest, gadget factories are saving lives.  

(I don't actually think that's the case, but I do think the Wired cover headline is wildly misleading).

3 thoughts on “Wired on iPhone factories in China

  1. Amee Tsai says:

    I strongly believe that factory conditions have led people to suicide. And even one is too many. Plus, that number doesn’t include people who die on the job from overwork, right? It may be misleading in the way you say, but I think it leads people down the right path on the whole. Hope you get to see Mike Daisey on the subject..http://mikedaisey.blogspot.com/2011/01/hello-all-as-new-year-dawns-we-are_2669.html. He is absolutely riveting.

  2. TektonikShift says:

    Suicide clusters are seen in developed countries and developing countries. The subject was covered in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Tipping Point. Also, a cluster occurred a few years ago at Palo Alto Gunn High School. The Wired article is misleading, and the itle makes great link bait.

  3. Nathan Hillery says:

    I have little respect for Wired.The conditions in Foxconn factories have to be compared with the local alternatives. Any tragedy is sad and where preventable we should take action (as, evidently, Apple did in this case). Wired’s headline does nothing useful. Employment tends to reduce suicides, regardless of the product. Suicides tend to cluster.Note that there were 60 suicides out of 160k employees at France Telecom 2008-2010 (still lower than the national average).

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