Agenda Shifting: Startup Rising (Christopher M. Schroeder)

Just saw a very interesting interview by my man Fareed Zakaria on GPS (CNN) of Christopher M. Schroeder, author of Startup Rising.  (Review here by Kira Newman of "Tech Cocktail").

We have seen the exponential growth in interaction and information sharing, described by Schroeder, before.  Media devices are to the Age of Entrepreneurship, or Startup Rising, what paper and printing presses were to the Age of Enlightenment.

English Short Title Catalogue 1470-1790.
The Geeks of Color who I dedicate this blog to are not just being underappreciated, under-noticed, and underutilized (as the CNN coverage suggests).  They are being profiled by faux environmentalists, targeted by Anti-Gray-Market corporations, and actually arrested (Joseph Benson) or their goods seized (Hamdy Mousa), see Environmental Malpractice blogs.

The kind of "witches brew" enforcement by Interpol's "Project Eden" is overseen ghoulishly at USA EPA by none other than the Environmental Justice department.  It is an Orwellian Scale of dysfunction.  Black is white, up is down, recycling is waste, reuse is dumping, progress is degradation, freedom is exploitation.

Fair Trade Recycling Summit
One third of the emerging market tech companies Schroeder describes, by the way, are owned by women, according to Schoeder. That fits my experience with Jinex, Su Fung, and Las Chicas Bravas.

There are now plenty of people documenting the Alter-globalization which is the good news story in the once-tagged "third world".  But I'm the only one writing about the billions spent arresting and shredding in the name of "green".   In my world, it's not academic.  In my world, Fred Somda flees underground for political asylum, Net Peripheral is shuttered by Malaysia DOE, the Chicas are oppressed for creating jobs in Sonora, Joseph Benson is paraded like some kind of a WEEE criminal, Hamdy has thousands of computer monitors seized in Egypt, Gordon has thousands of display devices turned back from Indonesia (at a cost of hundreds of thousands), California passes a "cancellation clause" to tax citizens to ruin displays prior to export.  I've written numerous times about each of these enforcements here in this blog.  But the Pelley Award goes to CBS for "following the trail" of computer monitors to a village without a single computer monitor.

Alexis de Tocqueville wrote different kinds of stories during the Enlightenment, from the trenches of a primitive colony.

Ok, it's only "e-waste".  Rich countries have discarded it once already, we want to make it go away.  If a shredding law vs. #wastecrime (Green Thompson) makes the poster child campaign go away, many of us shrug if Joseph Benson and African internet cafes go away with it.

If you read de Tocqueville's descriptions of American entrepreneurship, you'll see that the connections in Startup Rising and electronics reuse are similar stories.   I'm not exaggerating... it's only e-junk, but the people behind the trade are the best you'll meet in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  They are smarter, resourceful, and they are creating enormous value out of things we threw away.

The response to photos of Africans reusing electronics is non-rational, reptilian, and when we environmentalists deny that we are also animals with stimulus response reactions to modernizing Africa, Mideast, Latin America, and Asia, we are making ourselves a backwater.  This is not a charity I'm working on, this is tomorrow's market, this afternoon's market, even.   Right here, right now, there are a billion people in 3B3K markets who are undergoing a kind of new "Age of Enlightenment".  

And Basel Action Network, Greenpeace, E-Stewards, and Interpol want to take the internet away like a Swiss Handbag Salesperson accosting Oprah Winfrey (link to China Daily coverage).

But it isn't just an expensive handbag.  The display devices are what paper was to the printing press.  These are the Benjamin Franklins of Africa.  If the King of England knew what young Ben Franklin would go on to do with the used printing press he bought in London as a teenager, we might have had a "Project Eden" tariff.

Maybe Africa should have a tea party against E-Stewards.

Robin Ingenthron Fayetteville Arkansas class '80
The young, bright entrepreneurs who fly to buy computers are as much like Pieter Hugo's scrap boys as I am to L'il Abner and Snuffy Smith (Ozark roots reference).  
Maybe their dads and moms scavenged copper, maybe the mined coltan.  But the reuse market behind that is employing the best and the brightest, the people who will emerge from the Green Revolution, who will lead.

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