Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs

Mike's Daisey's monologue about his investigation into the human cost of Apple's electronics is an extraordinary show that can change the way its audiences think about the economic choices they make. But Daisey's aim is to get us to do more than just think.

Seeing him perform The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs is the first step. We accept what he calls his virus, and now we need to pass it on.

THE REST OF THE STORY IS IN YOUR HANDS reads the headline of the handout audience members are offered on the way out of the show, urging us to join the struggle to get Apple and others to do right by their workers.

"Change is possible," Daisey writes. "You can speak. You can tell others this story . . . ." He gives us the email address for Apple CEO Tim Cook. Here's what I wrote to him:

Dear Mr. Cook:

From Mike Daisey's show and New York Times reports, I've been shocked to learn the details of just how abused and underpaid makers of Apple's electronic devices are--and about Apple's long history of irresponsible compliance with this exploitation.

I realize that the problem isn't just with Apple's products. But as a company whose consumers are passionate about its products and loyal to its brand, Apple is in a position to be a leader in transforming the way electronics are made.

I urge Apple to become responsible for ensuring that its suppliers pay their workers well and institute safe and humane working conditions.

As a shareholder, rather than getting a 5% dividend, I would willingly see that money go to Apple's workers and to improving the conditions in which they work. With 60% profits and your huge cash reserves, Apple has the wherewithal to easily accomplish this.

And becoming a symbol of a solution rather than of a huge global labor problem could only enhance Apple's reputation.

* * *

Mike Daisey
is a brilliant performer, and if you haven't yet seen The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, playing through March 18 at the Public Theater in New York City, you should. See

But you can also download the transcript of the show for free at

Read it--and spread the virus.