Irony between Manufacturer’s Freedom and the Governement

Pauli Kerr-Period 1. Capitalism, a system where private owners control a country’s trade and industry for profit, rather than the state, puts the power into the people hands and takes complete control away from the government.[1] Capitalism allows for freedom among manufactures to grant the company full control over its’ products, methods of trade, availability, price and so on. When dealing with goods and property, the government has given the manufacturer the right to own and have authority over it. Capitalism promotes this fundamental right that manufactures have control over their product and distinguishes the government’s limited power to influence the manufacturer’s control. Manufacturers are protected by this and establishes their privileges over their products for consumer use so that they may not be overruled ruled by the state in hope to gain more power. There is a continual fight between the manufactures and the government where the manufactures are observing their freedoms granted and lack of freedoms when dealing with issues of the highest court.

Today, we look at the issue of freedoms from the government and lack of freedom from the government between the Apple Company and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This issue was brought up in February of 2016 when a federal judge ordered Apple to help the FBI unlock the iPhone to secure information on one of the San Bernardino, California, terrorists who killed 14 people and wounded 22 others. [2]This account is looked at in comparison to the chapter on the bourgeois and proletarians in the Manifesto of the Communist Party by Karl Marx. The bourgeois is a consistence representative of the manufacturer, Apple, and the opposing class to the bourgeois is represented by the FBI.[3]

The main point of question the public is asking is why Apple is not aiding in the fight against terrorism; however, it is a much more complicated matter than just fighting terrorism or being neutral to it. The struggle that Apple faces is the vulnerability that their customers would be subject to by creating software that could ultimately hack into all iPhones. It is not fair to ask Apple to do this to their customers because Apple guaranteed their customers the security of their phone against the U.S. government and hackers.

Karl Marx’s chapter on the bourgeois and the proletarians is a play by play and runs parallel to the Apple versus FBI issue. Karl Marx wrote, “The bourgeois finds itself involved in a constant battle. At first with the aristocracy…”.[4] The aristocracy, known as the highest class in certain societies and those who hold hereditary titles or offices, exemplify the FBI and their current battle with Apple, the bourgeois, over the power given to Apple by the government for authority over their product.[5] It is natural for the different class to battle and challenge each other, especially the bourgeois because they are the means to all social production, the product of which the government wants from Apple.

Marx talks about the transition from communism to capitalism and describes the effect saying, “Modern Industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master in to the great factory of the industrial capitalist… Not only are the slaves or the bourgeois class…they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the overlooker, and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself.”[6] Here he states and acknowledges the idea that the workers are under the domain of the manufacturer because they are used to produce the product that he solely controls. This gives the Apple manufacturer the freedom from the rule of the government because no matter what the FBI may request of Apple or Apple’s workers, the government gave the head of manufacturing authority over all Apple factories to control all products, no matter the FBI status of the tool. It is said that Apple software needed by the FBI could help law enforcement gather critical information on the San Bernardino attack; however, since Apple did not cooperate, its tools, no matter how beneficial to the case, could not be used.[7] Here the manufacturer has complete freedom to do as they please and exercise their practice to their liking. It is with freedom that capitalism works at its best and economies flourish.

In capitalistic societies there are always ever growing issues of freedom and lack of freedom present in different parts of the economy and government. In the Apple verse FBI conflict, the FBI is trying to secure what is not theirs, the Apple iPhone software that can hack into the terrorist’s phone. Like Marx says, “They have nothing of their own to secure and to fortify; their mission is to destroy all previous securities for, and insurances of, individual property.”.[8] The FBI, in this case, wants to take away Apple’s freedom and security that was originally given to them by the government. They want to take Apple’s say over their product and force them into aiding the FBI in the San Bernardino terrorist case by creating a software that puts all Apple devices at risk for the own furthermost of their government investigation.

For those whose support the freedom of Apple from the FBI, fight for the security of millions of iPhone users, not only in the country, but around the world. An important topic that comes into play is the Fourth Amendment, they do not want this to be infringed upon all because of the FBI wants Apple to build software that gives access to all phones, tablets, and laptops. Apple’s sales could also be decreased due to the access by the U.S. government to all Apple products, which will then affect foreign consumers. This issue not only affects Apple, but other software companies in addition. As you can see, the manipulation of Apple’s freedom and infringement of Apple’s property by the government can be an economical issue as it can affect the sales of their products and in turn, hurt the economy. It is critical that a balance of freedom remains between the manufactures and government agencies to ensure the prosperity of the U.S. economy and well-being.

On the other side of the argument are the people who support the cooperation of Apple to create software that will help the FBI take down current and future terrorists. They promote Apple’s freedom being compromised to protect the security of the American people from possible terrorist threats.[9] Ultimately, it is seen as the FBI doing its job and Apple cooperating, because that is what is best for the American people, instead of the manufacturers and their customers around the world. This will threaten Apple’s reliability and will greatly affect their public appearance as well as their sales. Those who call for a stripping of freedom recognize the Fourth Amendment and its duty to protect citizens from unreasonable search and seizure by the government; however, they see this opportunity to stop terrorism as an exception to the rule, probable cause.

It is a tricky subject, the government and their distribution of freedom among different parts of society, especially the manufacturers. We run a fine line, but if balanced successfully. Economies can prosper, manufacturers can feel secure and governments can have faith and can positively work with companies when problems arise. If done correctly, both the groups can have a respected trust of each other and boundaries can be respected and followed. Although this all sounds like a wonderful idea, this is not how companies and the government always work together. It is so, that the freedom given to Apple to deny the FBI’s requests was given by the government. Everything that was just talked about, the balance between the manufactures and the government, who is given the freedom and authority over products, and so on, all comes down to irony, because it is the government that gave us our freedom and it is also the government who is trying to take it away from us and manufacturers.

[1] Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary. “Capitalism.” Merriam-Webster. Accessed May 05, 2016.

[2] Student Government Affairs Program. “Apple vs. FBI.” The Student Forum 29 (April 2016): 2.

[3] Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. Manifesto of the Communist Party. New York: International Publishers, 1948.


[5] IBID

[6] IBID

[7] Student Government Affairs Program. “Apple vs. FBI.” The Student Forum 29 (April 2016): 2.

[8] Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. Manifesto of the Communist Party. New York: International Publishers, 1948

[9] Student Government Affairs Program. “Apple vs. FBI.” The Student Forum 29 (April 2016): 2.

Keyport, Joe. “Apple v. FBI: It’s More Than the Technology.” The Remnant. March 03, 2016. Accessed May 05, 2016.


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