This was a fascinating read about what it’s like to work in an iPhone factory. Although it was possible to predict that this is what it would be like, having this prediction confirmed by the account of an actual worker made the feeling much more poignant.
I had three key takeaways from the piece:
1. Most great things we consume or experience have large hidden costs of production where the benefit-to-cost ratio of producing varies greatly among producers. And there is merit in taking action to lower this free market driven cost of production to balance the well being of producers with low benefit-to-cost ratios.
2. Manufacturing is likely to sustainably shift to geographies with higher labor costs only when robots with negligible operating costs undercut the labor costs in low cost geographies. Attempts to bring back manufacturing jobs to higher cost geographies will be short-lived in the absence of automation. And the very definition of automation means that when this occurs, the absence of manufacturing jobs will be a global phenomenon.
3. We should be grateful to be able to work in roles where we can express our creativity under good working conditions.