How do we lift the silicon heel from the lives of the exploited workers who make our gadgets? Jack Linchuan Qiu‘s insightful and enraging new book Goodbye iSlave delves into one of the most important, and willfully overlooked, moral issues of our time.
Qiu welcomes you into a brave new world of capitalism propelled by high tech, guarded by enterprising authority, and carried forward by millions of laborers being robbed of their souls. Gathered into mammoth factory complexes and terrified into obedience, these workers feed the world’s addiction to iPhones and other commodities, a generation of iSlaves trapped in a global economic system that relies upon and studiously ignores their oppression.
Focusing on the alliance between Apple and the notorious Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn, Qiu examines how corporations and governments everywhere collude to build systems of domination, exploitation, and alienation. His interviews, news analysis, and first-hand observation show the circumstances faced by Foxconn workers—circumstances with vivid parallels in the Atlantic slave trade. Ironically, the fanatic consumption of digital media also creates compulsive free labor that constitutes a form of bondage for the user. Arguing as a digital abolitionist, Qiu draws inspiration from transborder activist groups and incidents of grassroots resistance to make a passionate plea aimed at uniting—and liberating—the forgotten workers who make our twenty-first-century lives possible.