What a "Hurricane Joe Benson" load looks like

Over the past decade, the Wealthy Nation West (WNW) suffered under the heavy load of conscience-grubbing photos by Pieter Hugo combined with "fun anti-facts" by Basel Action Network and Greenpeace.  The bright regulators in Europe and PACE, Interpol, StEP and Secretariat of the Basel Convention were busy at work, designing tests and enforcement procedures to protect African consumers from the wicked or accidental fallout from Africa Tech Sector Importers like Joe "Hurricane" Benson.

The tests were difficult, a thankless task for scores of customs agents who struggled to program their VCR machines in the 90s, and who probably paid for Windows 8 upgrades and have 2 smartphones and 3 flip phones in their dresser.  The diagrams drawn by Europeans showed used PCs heading down a pipeline of decisions, like a stool down a chamber of drains.  The generator was the "actor", a fetish of guilt and liability attached to the used electronic "waste" device.

WNW could have saved a lot of money on sewers if Africans were at all motivated to come to America and Europe and pay to ship our feces and urine to unregulated rivers.  But of course, why would an African do that?

Interpol, UNEP, and others repeated ad nauseum the fake fact that TVs and monitors had lots of gold and were worth lots of money when banged apart by kids with hammers.  That millions of dollars were spent, and Hurricane Joe Benson imprisoned, based on the malarky that avoided disposal cost was an ATM for Africans is shocking because anyone who spent 15 minutes taking apart a display device and weighing the copper on a bathroom scale could tell you it was nonsense.

They counted the number of TVs in Joe Benson's containers, but they never employed the math to show that the value of the copper never paid for the shipment of the container, only the reuse did.  But far be it from Europe to take economics and African judgement into consideration.

The used electronics resembled waste, and anything downstream from Europe was to be mopped up.

As it turns out, "it's not about you".

To you, in Europe and USA, this looked like a mess.  To you, it was informal.  To you, pallets of tightly stretch-wrapped uniform units looked "safer".  You profiled loads like this.

Because you never spoke to an African that has 20 employees but no forklift.  You never spoke to the importer who sells the load to four different shops, based on the number of keyboards, mice, etc. they need.

This is about presumption.

You presumed that if you arrest this guy, the Africans will pay more for loads that are prepared to YOUR standards, loads packaged by white employees earning $15 per hour, and they will still buy them and still get online and live happily ever after.

What Africa's Tech Sector had encountered in Europe was not colonialist, was not extractionist, was not capitalism run amok or externalization.  Africa had met a mature, derivative regulatory regime which considered itself in all ways the expert of African supply and demand.   The WNW had cultivated a class of do-gooders whose jobs were to react to liability, guilt, and blame.  They were positioned like an auto-immune disease to react to a "future shock waste".

I write the blog because I  believe and have faith that David Higgins and Jaco Huisman and Reudiger Kuehr and others are, like me, agents of conscience.  They built a diagram to stop harm from happening to Africans.  They tried enforcing it.

But they never talked to the African Tech Sector importers.  They talked to African bureaucrats, and to Mike Anane, and they stumbled into a quagmire of urban land development squabbles and home generated e-scrap.

And because I believe they are, like me, agents of conscience, I think that over time they will forgive me for blogging about them and "not going away".

They are victims of BAN and Greenpeace and Mike Anane's lies.  They believed them and like a sniper took Joe Benson's head off.  And they are still telling themselves Joe brought it on himself or was somehow guilty.  But my calculation is that they have a conscience, and it will start to bother them as with time they realize they never interviewed anyone from Africa's Tech Sector, they never interviewed the importers who, like Benson, were doing this before the guidelines were written, before there was a "presumption of guilt".

They believed a white NGO.  Mistakes were made.

"I am strongly engaged on that fight since as most of African countries does not have computers factories to produce and satisfy the academic needs also to improve the Education. Good and responsible Recycling create jobs and help a lot of families. we just need a good coordination and strong partnerships." - Angola Tech Sector Importer

No comments: