In this essay, you will connect the readings, TED talks, and your own research with the goal of articulating some of the ways in which your choices as a consumer impact the world.
STEP 1: Choose a specific product from a specific brand that you would like to purchase. (For example, an iPhone 11, a pair of Converse sneakers, H&M jeans, etc.)
STEP 2: Conduct research about the manufacturing process and supply chain behind this product and the business practices of the company that makes it. Find out as much as you can about where this product is manufactured, who makes it, and under what conditions. You will need to produce at least 3 sources (one of which can be the company itself) that give some information about the origins and manufacturing process of this product.
STEP 3: Write an essay that responds to the following prompt:
Based on your background research on the product youâ€™ve chosen, as well as the readings and TED Talks, will you buy this product? Why or why not?
Your essay should have a clear thesis statement that provides one main reason. The body of your essay should include the information you gathered about your product specifically and should incorporate the arguments made by at least 2 of the articles and/or TED talks from class as well as 3 sources you have found on your own.
Length: 3-4 pages typed and double-spaced using 12-pt font and including parenthetical documentation and works cited in MLA style
1. Compare and contrast the arguments made by Woodyard and Chang. How are their arguments similar? How are they different?
In the two TEDx Talks videos, the two different speakers show some comparable arguments. The two TED Talks speakers narrate and explain the ordeal faced by workers in most developing countries while working for multinational companies. Both Woodyard and Chang show much concern about the poor working conditions and poor wages offered by the many global companies expanding to the poor countries where these workers call home. For instance, Woodyard says that global â€œtrade barriers have softened, which has enabled major brands to jump from one country to the next in pursuit of cheaper and cheaper materials, and cheaper and cheaper laborâ€ (Woodyard, 2017). Chang also talks about the problem faced by the workers, pointing a case scenario whereby that employees in such countries can work on â€œan iPhone assembly lineâ€¦ but canâ€™t even afford to buy oneâ€ (Chang, 2012). They mainly differ in the industries they are using for their illustration. Changâ€™s focus is on the tech industry while Woodyard is focused on the fashion industry.
2. What interesting connection do you see between one of the TED talks and one of this week’s readings?
An interesting connection that I see between one of the TED talks and one of this week’s readings is the issue concerning forced labor, child labor, and poor working conditions of workers in Bangladesh. In the TED Talks video by Woodyard, says that Bangladesh thrives in â€œan industry where child labor and forced labor are boundâ€ (Woodyard, 2017). The article by Powel (2008) explains how the US responded to forced and child labor in Bangladesh by pointing out that a â€œU.S. senator Tom Harkin proposed banning imports from countries that employed children in sweatshopsâ€ upon which â€œa factory in Bangladesh laid off 50,000 childrenâ€ (Powell, 2008).
3. What company and product have you decided to focus upon for Essay 2? Based upon your preliminary research into your product’s manufacturing, what is an issue that you have discovered that you would like to focus on in your essay?
Essay 2, I have decided to focus on Apple, Inc. and the manufacture of the iPhone as a product. Based upon my preliminary research into the product’s manufacturing, I have decided to focus on the law wages and poor working conditions faced by workers in emerging economies like China, where the company has based some of its major manufacturing plants to take advantage of the cheap labor in the country.
Can you go a step further and explain a bit more of your logic for not buying? If the product is expensive and the labor is cheap, what does this suggest to you about Apple (an issue that would make you not want to buy their products)? One other thing to keep in mind is to make sure your sources are current.