Debating Your Device

Monday in class, we debated the article titled “Your Phone Was Made By Slaves: A Primer on the Secret Economy”, which in summary described how the cheap smart phone technology we use in America is manufactured overseas using slave labor. There were two sides to the debate: our side, which defended the use of slave labor technology, and the opposing side, which suggested we switch to companies that don’t use slave labor.

In the debate, I contributed to my team by promoting ideas and taking notes on the opposing side’s opening statement. When we were coming up with our rebuttal, I suggested we talked about how if America were to boycott slave labor technology manufacturers that another group of consumers would just take our place and continue to support these companies. I also read off the key points the opposing group made in their opening statement to my team and highlighted what we should focus on in our rebuttal.

Besides opinions, some factual evidence my group used to respond to the opposing group’s rebuttal was: that Nokia (which they suggested America should support) hasn’t put out a widely-used smart phone in almost ten years, and that since slavery is institutionalized in countries like the ones that are producing our technology, if everyone everywhere were to stop supporting the slave labor technology manufacturers that the companies would just move their business to a different consumer product. Our rebuttal in conclusion was that supporting one non-slavery company would be detrimental, and that if we stopped buying slave labor technology that the manufacturers would just switch to different products and produce them with slave labor.

All in all, I really agree with my groups position on this ethical issue. Although it is a tragedy that slave labor is used to create cheap smart phone technology, there is no one specific way that we could stop the usage of slave labor. I believe that Americans wouldn’t want to buy from non-slave labor companies that would likely cost more for technology, and that if slave labor wasn’t used for technology manufacturing, that the slave labor would just move to another product. I thought the opposing views evidence lacked a real resolution, besides purchasing smart phone technology from one slave labor free manufacturing company.



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