All Your Crap Is Made By Hand

If you haven't listened to this podcast yet, get it now. Stand-up comediant Mike Daisey chronicles his journey to Shenzhen, China, the place where the vast majority of all our electronics (Apple stuff included) is made:

I expect a factory making complex electronics will have the sound of machinery, but in a place where the cost of labor is effectively zero, anything that can be made by hand is made by hand. No matter how complex your electronics are, they are assembled by thousands and thousands of tiny little fingers working in concert. And in those vast spaces, the only sound is the sound of bodies in constant, unending motion.

Another favorite section:

The Foxconn plant in Shenzhen has 430,000 workers. That can be a difficult number to conceptualize. I find it's useful to instead think about how there are more than 20 cafeterias at the plant. And then you just have to understand that workers told me that these cafeterias can hold up to 10,000 people. So now you just need to visualize a cafeteria that seats 10,000 people. I'll wait.

It should be noted that the 10,000 person capacity might have been a mistranslation- the cafeterias may only actually seat 4,000. Still, a massive scale.

You can find the full episode (as well as a transcript) at This American Life.