Capitalism, Unvarnished

Apr 19 2011 @ 7:12pm

Dave Weigel reviews Mike Daisey's one-man show, "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs." Half the performance "is a history of Apple computers and Daisey's own appreciation of the company and its products." The other half "is an increasingly dark, increasingly painful retelling of Daisey's reporting in Shenzhen, China": 

Working undercover, Daisey saw the nets that had been erected to catch suicidal workers who jumped off the building. He met workers whose spines had started to fuse together from 12-hour or 16-hour shifts. He met 12-year-olds who assembled iPhones and iPads. As he talks, the realization grabs you — your beloved little phone was put together by a serf, and you didn't even care to find this out.

This is an unusually honest, un-cynical monologue. It is not propaganda; you don't leave it pumping your fist and calling for the end of capitalism. You leave it with a better and more honest understanding of capitalism, one that has no comfortable place in politics.