As the world begins again to notice the need for just working conditions for workers we must all ask the key question: “Why?”
It has recently come to light that a subcontracting company producing products for Apple has been grossly overworking its factory laborers in China. In a speech at a year-end party Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou made a comment that startled many across the world. Hon Hai is the parent company of Foxconn, the company that is actually producing Apple products in Chinese factories. Gou made his remark at the Taipei zoo, a place that apparently reminded him of his own company. His statement was: “Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million worldwide and as human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache.”
At first glance this comment struck many as terribly insensitive, overbearing, and a sign of the mentality that is required to subjugate a company’s workers. But this begs an important question: if we generally believe people to be animals why does someone calling them animals bother us? Although many believe in theory that humans are an animal species they still recoil when someone actually refers to them as animals.
We seem to understand that there is a difference between animals and man. What many don’t seem to understand is that what they claim to believe often does not match up with the rest of what they believe and is not really lived out in their actual lives (how many people really wonder why their dogs aren’t good conversationalists or if fish have discussions about what it is to be a fish or what the whales ever did to save us?).
Perhaps there is something of value in humans. Perhaps they truly are different from the animal world. Perhaps there is a reason that we should be concerned about the welfare of people. If there is a value to people there must be something good by which to measure value and from which it is imparted to people. May I humbly suggest a fixed, inherently valuable person is needed to impart value to humans and that the difference between humans and animals is evidence that they are made in a higher image.
The evolutionary system of thought has philosophical implications. It raises the issue of whether or not humans are morally superior, equal to, or inferior to other animals. Of course there are many who believe each of these. The first step for each of us is to decide where we stand because the implications of humans being just another mammal species and the implications of them being something more are of no small significance. But if we truly are animals then for pity’s sake let poor Mr. Gou be… or fight him and refuse him mating rights in the herd but please make up your mind.