Manufacturing injustice

As Apple’s website displayed a poignant tribute to the man who made technology beautiful, very few of us spared a thought for those who made his dreams a reality: people like Wang Ling, Li Rongying and Lu Xin.  They are just three of 23 workers at Foxconn, Apple’s Chinese manufacturer, who have committed suicide since 2010.  Systemic abuse of workers’ employment and, dare I say it, human rights have been obfuscated by the lure of the dancing pixels – and you and I are part of the reason why. While we wait for higher resolution, the workers seem to be planning a revolution. Only last week, between three and four thousand underpaid and underappreciated Foxconn workers staged a walkout at the Zhengzhou plant.  A few weeks earlier, a protest at the Taiyuan factory descended into the mother of all broils, leaving 40 people in need of medical treatment. This hasn’t …

The Divine Ultimatum

Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength.  Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?                                                                                                      — John Milton Areopagitica Submit, or die.  That’s effectively the message being dished out to the West by the tens of thousands protesting against Innocence of Muslims, the crude film trailer that depicts the ‘prophet’ Mohammed.  This message is not facetious, nor is it half-hearted.  It forms what can only …

Spare a thought for philosophy: An interview with A.C. Grayling

“As Bertrand Russell said, ‘Most people would rather die than think; most people do’,” quips A.C. Grayling, leaning forward as though offering me a truffle of wisdom for my delectation.  Philosophy is a rather strange business in the modern world of consumerism and commerce, I suppose.  We’re so used to being force-fed ideas these days that we rarely, if ever, dare to stop and think for ourselves.  And that’s where Grayling bucks the trend. Author of over twenty books including a secular bible (‘The Good Book’) as well as countless newspaper and magazine columns, Grayling has been a paradigm of humanism for many years: Vice President of the British Humanist Association, patron of Dignity in Dying, Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society… the list goes on.  And yet, had I anticipated some sort of stuffy Socratic dialogue with a kooky academic or a living, breathing replica of Rodin’s Thinker …