Screen shot from 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Screen shot from 2001: A Space Odyssey

It’s been interesting to behold the recent frenzy over the release of the iPhone 5 right around the one-year anniversary of Steve Jobs’s death. It’s almost like the beginning of October marks the time of year when people worship at the feet of a tech guru and idolize his products. Admittedly, Apple makes pretty cool products; I own a couple. But it’s also important to think about where those devices come from and how their production affects the planet, geologically and personally.

To start, I recommend checking out “The iEconomy,” a seven-part series on “challenges posed by increasingly globalized high-tech industries” by the New York Times. Not all the articles are about Apple per se, but the company plays a large role in all of the stories, and is the focal point of around half of them. I’m still unsure if the series has concluded, but each of the articles is pretty long, so a new one may drop by the time you finish these seven. The article I found most fascinating is part three, “How Apple Sidesteps Billions in Global Taxes,” where the title speaks for itself. I find that it’s a tendency among people to view technology companies as more fiscally responsible or ethical than other corporations, but reporters Charles Duhigg and David Kocienewski do a good job illustrating how that’s decidedly not the case. A particularly devastating passage: