By Darren Franich
Updated February 14, 2012 at 12:00 PM EST

Last month, the New York Times ran a fascinating in-depth piece on beloved megacorporation Apple, explaining how the company’s techno-utopian garden of leisure has actually been built on the bruised backs of a dystopian worker-society who live in a factory without sunlight — coincidentally also the plot of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, which is currently available on the iTunes store, so you can watch it on your iPad and enjoy the cheap irony. According to Reuters, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced earlier today that Apple was making a concerted effort to end underage labor and improve working conditions in factories which create Apple products.

Speaking at a technology conference sponsored by Goldman Sachs, Cook noted proudly that Apple was allowing the Fair Labor Association to inspect the working conditions in the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen. He also reaffirmed the company’s commitment to fair labor practices, a commitment which dates all the way back to this morning. Cook’s comments follow a recent spate of protests by self-professed “fans” of Apple — fans who were shocked to discover that a major technology company abuses inhuman third-world labor laws to improve their profit margin, and were also shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in this casino.

All kidding aside, this is very good news, and hopefully this means we’ll go at least a few months without the words “Foxconn” and “suicide pact” appearing in the same headline.

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