Chinese Factories and French Farms

I spent last semester studying in Tours, France with Bucknell in France. During the semester, I took a course called food politics, in which we studied French cuisine and analyzed the difference between it and that of the United States. By the end of the semester, we determined that the French are much closer to their food. They are closer to the carcasses that become pork and beef, closer to the farmers that pull the vegetables from the land. Supermarkets with hygienic plastic wraps around carefully cleaned and sliced meats are far less prevalent in France than the United States. Because the French are closer to the sometimes grim reality of food production, they consume less because they understand the true cost. After listening to “Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory,” I realized that there are many more facets in which the American lifestyle distances itself from the harsh reality in order to fully enjoy the modern amusements we have.   

In his visit to the Foxconn factory, Mr. Daisey uncovered the true price of Apple products – the Apple products that come so neatly in their simple white boxes with a sleek photo of the item, the boxes that serve the same purpose as the cellophane wrap around the meat at the grocery store. His impressive story telling abilities, complete with personal anecdotes and comedic relief, portray a vivid image of a place unlike anything we have ever seen. He shared the story of the workers’ plight which brought the reality a little closer to home – not just in “China.”

My overall reaction to this podcast was a desire to be more informed about all of the products I purchase and companies I support. Our culture of globalization and consumerism has placed the consumer so far away from the production process that our possessions become impersonal and we lose the ability to judge whether their producer is worthy of our support. Perhaps if we as Americans, like the French and their food, place ourselves closer to production, we will more accurately understand the cost of goods and decrease our astronomical spending and start being smarter as a society.