INK: History of Patent Wars

How shows "Egypt"
Ok, this headline is a teaser for a book I would like to write.   If I were to be suddenly unemployed, rather than the CEO of a fast going (doubling in size every 3 years) environmental company, I'd have no problem occupying my time.   In the past quarter, I've written more and more and posted less and less because it's hard to make brief points that don't water down the body of work.

Here's the problem:

1.   Most CRTs are Waste
2.   Most CRTs are Exported
3.   Therefore, most waste CRTs are exported.

This sounds reasonable, whether you garnish it with poverty porn (pictures of kids with burning trash) or not.

The problem is that key points were fabricated.  If the premises don't work, you have a fallacy.

1.  Today, most CRTs are waste.  That was NOT TRUE in 2002.

In 2002, when the "Export Crisis" became topical, they were not.  In 2002, most of the CRTs collected in surplus property programs were 17" computer monitors, which had a life of about 20 years and a history of use of about 5 years.  Those were being displaced the way 15" were displaced, by nicer display devices in nations which could afford them.

Typical Egyptian monitors seized as "waste" by Dictator
The 15-17" CRTs were still being produced in huge quantities then because markets - like the emerging market ghettos which surround expanding cities - had a hunger for TV and internet.  The way electricity is "shared" in a slum or fast-growth neighborhood is to branch wires from house to house, diluting the current.  Therefore we had

a) millions of people with just enough electricity to power on a 15-19" screen (but not to "light up" a 27",
b) millions of "surplus" 15-19" computer monitors
c) dozens of contract assembly plants which used to make the 15-17" monitors which had no more work coming from OEMs (they were building new LCD factories in the north of Asia, rather than re-vamp the CRT plants in the south, for a variety of reasons).

So, most CRTs were not waste, but most CRTs were exported.

Indonesia - 2002 CRT Refurb Factory
Today, as the supply of used CRTs grows (suppliers in Asia) and the USA and Europe's importance in the used display market shrinks, and LCDs are made at a fraction of the cost of the 2002 LCDs, we have a new playing field.

Today, in the USA, most CRTs (working or not) are waste because the cost to transport them to markets that want them is high (made even higher by regulation) in proportion to new LCDs.  However, the market then reacts and premise #2 is no longer true.

2.  Today, Most CRTs are NOT exported, even if they were in 2002.

When you look at the "gotcha" stories, the Malpractice, the arrests or property seizures and defamation of my "Hurricane" Heroes Joseph Benson, Hamdy Mousa,  Gordon Chiu, and others (loss of contracts by the Chicas Bravas, loss of permits by the company in Penang), and ask the accused, and ask the enforcers, you see the same 15-19" units in the photos.  The much larger units are in larger and larger supply, and a few of those are exported, but only the very nicest ones.  The percentage of CRTs exported today is smaller because (#1) the percentage that are acceptable to the markets are smaller, and (#2) the costs of exporting them are higher, and (#3) the cost of new goods is lower.

Most Americans are aware of the third (#3) reason.  But they still believe that "most are exported".   Even the notable rag "The Economist" got this wrong this week.

What we need are reports written by people who meet face to face with other people besides "most Americans".   If you keep getting your data from the same group, you wind up with "groupthink".   It's the same as if one of the Boston Brahmin has a tiff with one of the Irish immigrants, or an Italian has a bad episode with a black American in Little Italy.  If WASPS get their info from other WASPS, and Italians get their info from other Italians, that info will be based on the only human transactions those people have with each other.

And when those transactions are banned or regulated away, the most likely transactions to be reported on are going to be from illegal and extra-legal contact.

So the entire picture of E-Waste Exports has been based on a fallacy, but the Prohibition on exports continues to work the same way a ban on medical procedures or a ban on wine and beer works.  Less and less information becomes available.  And the people who are called in as "Experts" by the Economist are people who are selling insurance against contact with the "other" people, and selling that insurance with horrific pictures and halloween language of ghouls, goblins, and witch-children.

We used to ship CRT monitors directly to Egypt.
When Egypt cracked down on "5-Year Post-Manufacture", we sent the monitors to Indonesia for re-Manufacture.
BAN Closed the Indonesia plant

It was all based on a fallacy, supported by poverty porn, planned obsolescence, and green hubris.

Caught Black-Handed

African Container:  4% of TVs run in slums (photo J.Puckett)
It's completely disgusting, and if I can get this growing business off my back, I'm going to make sure then next generation knows where the bodies are buried.   The Geeks of Color will be the strongest man at last.

(Below is the outline of my "book".  It shows how the whole export thing was kicked off by a campaign against refilled ink cartridges, a story appearing in China Daily in 2002)...

An alternative title for my "book":

How Environmentalists fell for the biggest Hoax and kicked the world's poor in the teeth.

In the 1700s, Benjamin Franklin.  De Tocqueville...

The explosion of printing technology made universal public education not only possible, but continuing.  The "Information Age" began...

Credit for downfall of Nazi Germany,  USSR, if you censor or control your most creative and intelligent citizens (Ayn Rand)...

Disney and Copyright law:  The "protected" creative citizens....


Lexmark vs. Arizona Cartridge Refurbishers...

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