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Desc:The human cost of our high tech goods.
Category:Business, Crime
Tags:Africa, child labor, Democratic Republic of the Congo, cobalt
Submitted:Pillager
Date:02/05/16
Views:841
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Comment count is 19
Nominal
Username synergy
ashtar.
Stupid child labor hipsters and their artisianal mines.
Void 71
This is China we're talking about. Their orphans are paid in stale cigarettes to assemble this stuff into batteries.
animegurl1000
You're thinking of the PRC. This is the DRC.

Mr. Purple Cat Esq.
China is involved in the DRC and other less developed African nations. They intend to build infrastructure and modernize mines and whatnot in exchange for a cut of the extracted resources.
http://www.poetv.com/video.php?vid=150649

Void 71
China is the new British Empire. And judging by the poor living and working conditions in China, I have no doubt that they're the most cutthroat foreign occupiers that Africa has ever seen.

infinite zest
God this makes me sick. I knew all this already, but seeing it like this, it's just as bad as diamonds if not worse. And yet I still complain about my iPhone's battery life draining faster and faster every day, if I forget my charger for the day it's the end of the fucking world, etc. etc. :(
Bootymarch
But cobalt blue sells!
memedumpster
This is why Occupy failed. The oligarchons looked down from their glass towers and saw millions of children sitting in the wilderness, crying out for a parent, clinging to their iGuns and their iReligion. They knew if they were willing to exploit actual slaves for these devices, there was no way they'd actually attack the vector of their acquisition. They know we're smart enough cattle to know that animals starve on a ranch without ranchers.

Sent from my iPad.
Bort
I'm going to talk politics, because what the hell. The much-hated TPP would crack down on this shit in a novel way: member nations of the TPP are forbidden from importing goods produced in part or in whole through child labor. Nations that allow child labor wouldn't be fined as such -- which could be filed away as "the costs of doing business" -- but it would be difficult to find markets for products of child labor, rendering the enterprise unprofitable.

Everyone decided that the TPP was Hitler, atomic bombs, a timeshare contract, and Genghis Khan combined before actually fucking reading it. I can't speak to every provision of the TPP by any means, but the parts that render child labor and involuntary servitude a bad business model ... ? I like those, just as I like the parts about establishing labor unions and minimum wages. (I even see an argument that the TPP could send jobs back to the US: they went overseas in the first place because of cheap exploitable labor, right? When that labor is no longer as cheap and exploitable, there's less incentive to keep the factories an ocean away from the markets.)

memedumpster
I was thinking about that the other day, how the TPP could be used for good.

Does the child labor thing mean America can't export cigarettes? Isn't that like a 3 billion dollar business?
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27350413

Oh no, wait, tobacco has been "carved out" of the TPP, so much for the equalizing power (at least in preliminary weak induction sort of way).
http://www.cfr.org/trade/forging-new-trade-policy-tobacco/p256 58

I think the skepticism of the TPP comes from two premises :
1.) America's masters only do evil in the world, so this must be evil towards the world.
2.) America's masters only do evil to the American people, so TPP must be evil towards the American people.

Personally, I think any set of game mechanics forced on the world backed by overwhelming military horror can be gamed for any clever person's benefit, even if it's for a good reason. However, I do expect this thing, like every single system ever created by the human neuron vomit jelly, will be used to maximum suffering of the most for the aggradizement of the fewest.

So saying anything ever has a potential for, and will be used for, evil is immediately a begging the question (its actual meaning, not question whoring) fallacy. I think good must be contemplated while evil is a given. So I look for some good in the TPP and America in general.

You ever notice how there's a billion stories about good people fucking up and helping evil, but there's very few where evil fucks up and helps the good? That's because that shit's too realistic. I am convinced that the architects of global trade are the evilist most malicious hominids possible on earthly mud, but they fuck up constantly and enact systems that are constantly used against them. This will be no different.

Good will always win, because evil is dumb.

So expect every TPP country to commit crime constantly for profit and get ignored for it, or get American approved opt outs for it. Also expect that to be used as a paper trail to one day throw rich people off cliffs in yearly festivals where people can't afford the party favors they make for other countries. If TPP is as bad as they say, we're less than a hundred years from a single world oligarchic government, and less than a hundred twenty five years from all of those people being violently murdered. There is hope in that. The big picture on the long term makes every horrible thing a catalyst for good, and every good thing a consolation for the next new horror.

I love this human ape shit some days, it's amazing.

memedumpster
It's kind of moot anyway, both Democrat candidates have come out against the TPP. Of course, everyone basically expects that to be a lie from Hillary, but she could just as easily be sincere about it.

I keep waiting to learn that Bernie owns 67% of Dubai.

Bort
"I think the skepticism of the TPP comes from two premises :"

My belief is that, since the Democrats sold out the American people on NAFTA 20 years ago, this is everyone's chance to say "Whoa, I'm not one of THOSE Democrats, I would have voted against it, and I'll prove it by opposing the TPP!" That's why Bernie declared the TPP "NAFTA on steroids" before it was made public even though he'd never even read it, and has lied about it since the full text was revealed.

"So expect every TPP country to commit crime constantly for profit and get ignored for it, or get American approved opt outs for it."

Yeah to be sure, the TPP will be bent so that certain very profitable interests are spared its full impact. I'm not so naive as to expect that it will be a perfect shining solution. But I think it will make at least some things better.

With regard to tobacco, that article you linked to is from 2011, like four years before the TPP was finalized. (I had to do some digging to find the date on it.) You'll be pleased to know that tobacco is covered under the TPP and in fact the TPP specifically gives countries greater power to deal with tobacco:

http://www.vox.com/2015/11/6/9680758/tpp-public-health-drug-pr ices-tobacco

That said, the Vox article also talks about pharmaceutical companies being able to patent their drugs for longer under the TPP, which means taking longer for competitors to be able to produce cheaper generic alternatives. This is one of those things that sounds bad, but I really don't know enough to know what's reasonable. There are infamous instances of pharmaceutical companies gouging the public, but how often is that the norm, and what is a fair period for a company to recoup R&D costs? It's complicated and the TPP may be making things less far, or possibly more fair.

Oscar Wildcat
I'm not sure about the answer to that question, but some fella by the name of Bort was just tearing up the place a few days ago about cost overruns in the medical industry being the principal driver of high health care costs. He had a lot of numbers, you should check them out.

These trade agreements serve corporate interests: there is always some kind of language in them about helping people as a sop but you will see that a) it is almost never binding and b) it usually requires standing to bring suit, meaning you pretty much need to be a corporate entity yourself to use the tool in question. Is Apple going to sue China over it's unfair labor practices? I wouldn't hold my breath, there.

Bort
It could be that Bort feller makes a distinction between being able to control a patent and to set insane prices, and doesn't feel that the free market is the best way to prevent price-gouging.

memedumpster
That's great news about tobacco, I'm glad that happened.

As for big pharma, it is a straight up painted bird situation for any leftie to challenge them, and immediate tin-foil hattery, so I can only say the TPP must reign them in somehow without our knowledge, otherwise I'm a truther.

Bort
See I'm not sure that the TPP reins them in. But it's also possible that the TPP isn't the best place to do it, because the TPP covers trade between nations and this might not be in the TPP's wheelhouse. (Kind of like how a columnist was recently bitching on Salon about how the TPP doesn't mention climate change, but failed to observe that there was recently a climate summit in Paris that included not just Pacific nations but the entire world.)

I do think big pharma needs to be prevented from gouging the public, and pulling a model out of my ass: companies should be able to recoup development costs + 25% (including other indirect costs like recovering the costs of failed projects), and beyond that, patent holders should be able to charge manufacturing costs + 10%. Plus some sort of formula to keep costs from being too high to individual customers during that recoupment phase. That's stll profitable enough to encourage development but it keeps the profits justifiable.

Was thinking about this:

"However, I do expect this thing, like every single system ever created by the human neuron vomit jelly, will be used to maximum suffering of the most for the aggradizement of the fewest."

Does that really hold up, though? We're addressing world economic inequality so that 90% of the world is free of grinding poverty (up from 60% just a few decades ago), war is down, we've eradicated several major diseases and are on the way to eradicating still more. Was there a better time to be alive in? There was never any "Safety Dance" video era where everyone was happy and danced around like idiots; this is the closest we've ever come.

The Saxons' notion of heaven was known as "Neorxnawang", which is a word you should remember because it is fucking retarded, but also it (probably) means "field of contentment". That was what Saxons considered the world of perfect bliss: a field of contentment, pretty much the "Safety Dance" video perhaps. Well compared to what we've got today, their version of heaven looks like dogshit. That's how far we've come.

Which is not to say that there isn't still a hell of a lot more to do, let's not forget that the trend is towards improvement.

EvilHomer
Is this *really* worse than abortion?

How about, instead of aborting our unwanted children, we send them to China, to work in our cobalt mines? Kids still die, China still gets it's labor, we still get our iPhones - everyone is happy. Radical solutions for an ever-changing world. #2045
memedumpster
Fuck that, the easiest solution is to deny an entire generation technology and when they get to be adult labor age (6) they can go build their own products. This serves some great efficiencies, such as...

1.) Labor, consumer, and product are now all one and can live/work/consume in the same factory.
2.) Planned obsolescence is tied to human mortality, so every generation builds its tech heroin anew, staying out of the way of the power humans.
3.) I'm not writing this one for you, take some vitamin C and get back on your A game, it's worrying.

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