Put Yourself In the World's Shoes

I got some positive feedback on the slide I put up two days ago (from my "Fair Trade Recycling" presentation, which has been given at CES and Colleges in 3 countries during the past 6 months).

Here are a couple of other slides from the same presentation.

The first shows the relative size of the market for computer displays.  People earning $3K-12K per year are getting online at 10 times the rate of growth of wealthy nations since 2001.  But the "boycott the poor" advocates shows pictures of primitive dumpsites to describe 6 billion people.

And even the poorest of the poor deserve a bit of a break.  Recycling isn't THAT bad a job for the very poorest people in the world.  If we control the three worst practices - burning wire (little of which comes from computers anyway, that will not be affected by the HR2284 boycott), dumping broken CRTs, and aqua regia acid baths for circuit boards (another rarity), then recycling stacks up pretty well with other choices - like sex worker, miner, Somali pirate, child soldier, etc.

The term "parasites of the poor" and "accidental racist" are a little tough.  But the longer this stupid idea of boycotting poor people and shredding metals into smaller un-fixable pieces goes on (without any intelligent comment or response to people like me), the louder I have to get.

Jim Puckett has claimed that my use of terms like "parasite" and "accidental racist" are the reason that BAN does not respond to the criticism in this blog.  That is a lie.  Even when we were writing papers together in 2004, when I was assisting them with "due diligence" of Pledge of True Stewardship, and helping them focus on the worst players and practices, they still had their deaf ears on.

In fact, at one of the first R2 Stakeholder discussions, before the E-Stewards campaign got started, I was confronted by Sarah Westervelt for exaggerating my friendship and closeness to BAN.  I had to agree, in getting scolded, that I was being too kind.   That was a turning point for me, I began to emphasize more of the disagreements rather than play deferential on the worst practices, like "toxics along for the ride".

The response to being disagreed with (We Shouldn't Have to Make That Choice) was that Jim accused me of bashing them, he called E-Scrap News repeatedly and said it was an "attack" on BAN, and in his written response he described the Fair Trade Recycling effort as, and I quote, "poisoning people".

So if you are new to this discussion... I'm looking for people to try to have this dialogue.  But as long as my friends are getting their factories closed down, and getting boycotted for repair jobs, and Geeks of Color are described as primitives, and people who shred repairable and reuse displays are described as Steward Heroes, well.... Gotta go Huck Finn with it.   "Alright then, I'll go to hell".

The Basel Action Network is leading a lynch mob against repair and reuse companies in emerging markets.  Sea containers of working and repairable devices are being seized by dictators at the port, and e-scrap recyclers in the USA and Europe have been completely frighted to return phone calls from overseas buyers.

It's time to tell more of the truth.   The longer this goes on, the more the "Stewards" and anti-exporters who embraced CBS 60 Minutes and Terry Gross's Fresh Air are going to find themselves on the wrong end of Oprah Winfrey.   BAN's laughable and race-baiting campaign against colorful geeks is being used, today, by the competitors in Arizona against my lady friends, Las Chicas Bravas.  An Arizona recycler told our clients there that they burn the monitors and dump chemicals on the ground.  Now, he's an idiot and people told me he doesn't have many people believing him and I should not over-react.

But if you are making a percentage of the profit on the sale of rope being used to lynch my friends, don't expect me to be polite.  Stop lying about people, grow a spine, and admit that your problem with the refurbishing market has nothing to do with pollution from non-functioning equipment and has everything to do with the donations you get from shredding companies who don't want to compete with Egyptian, Indonesian, and Pakistani nerds and fixers.

The Economist this week has an article (and video) on Morals and the Machine.

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