Even today, Chinese laborers “finish” smartphones by wiping off any fingerprints with a highly toxic solvent proven to shorten the workers’ lives. That’s how valuable it is for consumers to believe their devices have been assembled by magic rather than by the fingers of underpaid and poisoned children. Creating the illusion of no human involvement actually costs more human lives.
Of course, the mass production of goods requires mass marketing. While people once bought products from the people who made them, mass production separates the consumer from the producer and replaces this human relationship with the brand. So, where people used to purchase oats from the human miller down the block, now consumers are supposed to go to the store and buy a box shipped from a thousand miles away.