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Inside the Fake PC Recycling Market 320

Posted by samzenpus
from the put-that-anywhere dept.
snydeq writes "OSNews' Howard Fosdick reports on the fake recycling market — one in which companies exploit cheap shipping, inexpensive labor, and a lack of safety and environmental law to export computers and other e-waste to China and Africa where it is 'recycled' with a complete lack of environmental and safety rules. 'This trade has become a thriving business. Companies called "fake recyclers" approach well-meaning organizations — charities, churches, and community organizations — and offer to hold a Recycling Day. The charity provides publicity, legitimacy, and a parking lot for the event. On the designated day, well-meaning residents drop off their old electronics for recycling. The fake recycler picks it up in their trucks, hauls it away for shipping, and makes money by exporting it to Chinese or African "recycling" centers. Nobody's the wiser,' Fosdick writes. Of course, the international community has, in fact, devised a set of rules to control e-waste disposal under the Basel Conventions, but the US — 'the international 'bad boy' of computer recycling — is one of four countries that have not ratified and do not adhere to these international agreements."
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Inside the Fake PC Recycling Market

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  • No surprise... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@gmail. c o m> on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @07:04PM (#32833332) Homepage

    Of course here in my home province, they recently added a ECE tax which is supposed to before recycling home electronics and such. Which means that the money goes right into the coffers. Of course I can never find anywhere to drop off my electronics, except at the same places which already did it.

  • Re:Meh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @07:07PM (#32833362)

    Market will sort it out.

    umm... not when there is a price distortion due to a negative externality coupled with information asymmetry.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @07:13PM (#32833438) Journal
    Please, sir, cease your slander. The invisible hand is colour blind. It would be just as happy for white and asian children to wallow in toxic waste, assuming it is profitable enough. Only a racist, and one with insufficient trust in the market, would apply affirmative action policies to the booming "informal disposal" market...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @07:15PM (#32833458)

    A lot of you won't want to hear this, but most likely the foreign labor that's scavenging these parts is doing so because this is their best option. If you fight against allowing these people access to these discarded resources you might be hurting them economically. Not every country is as wealthy as ours and certainly most of the developing world would be very willing to take increased risks in order to obtain increased prosperity.

    Unfortunately, many first world western "do gooders" will destroy the opportunity for 3rd world people to make a living and lift themselves out of poverty.

    Sure, these people might have no protection against toxins...but the alternative choice might be starvation or prostitution or even more horrible jobs like stone crushing. (yes, that is a job)

    Every nation with modern wealth had to undergo a dirty period of industrialization where some generations lifted themselves out of poverty at health costs...but this is better than being in poverty with other ongoing health costs of POVERTY.

    Let people scavenge for resources if that's their best option. They'll make wealth and choose a better life for their kids. Note that when 3rd worlders start making more than 10K USD per person in Per-Capita income they start DEMANDING cleaner environments and standards.

    But they have to start somewhere.

  • Money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lymond01 (314120) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @07:15PM (#32833460)

    I was talking with one of my friends who works in the oil business. He was going off how the cleaner energy technologies will never really take off while oil is 3-5 times less expensive. And sadly, I have to agree: efforts are, of course, being made but considering the amount of money that could be put towards green energy (or nuclear fission or fusion), it's very half-hearted. Cheaper is better in our society. And that applies to NIMBY projects too. It took about 20 years for people to really come around to attempting to recycle anything on a regular basis. It surprises me not in the least that people are tossing environmental concerns for cash.

    I hope, someday, that we will learn that protecting our natural resources are part of the cost of doing business. Right now we're like a bunch of teenagers wondering how trigonometry is ever going to be useful in our lives. So we're being taught, but we're not really taking it in.

  • by jcochran (309950) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @07:21PM (#32833530)

    Given the fine article here, I see that China is one of the bad boys in actually doing bad stuff, yet the http://www.ban.org/country_status/report_card.html [ban.org] web site has China listed as "Excellent". So something seems more than slightly fishy. Reading again, the site merely rates how the countries in question perform lip service to a set of 4 treaties and totally disregards how the countries actually act regards limiting pollution.

    Sorry people, but this is a prime example of actions speaking louder than words.

  • Anonymous Coward (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @07:24PM (#32833544)

    Did the author of this article, just blame the US, for the fact that China and Africa allow their citizens to poison the environment and dump hazardous chemicals into the water ? He should stop buying computer equipment, or call the African government with his complaint.

  • Re:No surprise... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by countSudoku() (1047544) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @07:25PM (#32833550) Homepage

    No surprise, the problem is that our country is (over)run by corporations, NOT the citizens, lest we put a stop to this ignorant and greedy behavior. Anything to grease the skids of our corporate assholes, so we don't get it the way of their monopolies and profit making schemes! Fuck the rest of us who don't "get" the bribes, er, lobbyist "gifts for influence." If you disagree, you are probably not a real American anyway, so fuck you too. America is for the people, not asshole corporations. Eventually this will be dismantled, or implode on itself, like the housing and financial markets just did. The problem is STILL HERE and it has nothing to do with repubs or dems. They both suck. It has to do with the clever manipulation of our government away from the proposed design by forces unseen by our Constitution drafting forefathers. It's broken. Please fix.

  • Re:Meh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @07:27PM (#32833582)
    Not when the government is involved...

    When you force people to "recycle" their computer equipment, no longer do people really care where it goes so long as they don't have to pay that tax, because of this it opens up a new market for cheap "recyclers" that people will flock to because they are cheap and convenient.
  • Re:No surprise... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @07:29PM (#32833590)

    Do what I do and throw in in a ditch or lake. You've already paid for someone to fish it out and dipose of it properly.

  • Re:For the record (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @07:31PM (#32833624)
    If the junk didn't go to China or Africa, where did it go? How can you be sure that whoever you sent the junk to didn't just shove it in a container bound for China or Africa?
  • by JustinRLynn (831164) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @07:31PM (#32833626)
    (opinion) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The least of which is Recycle.

    People get fooled into thinking they can buy more and reuse less because they practice "feel good" recycling. Recycling at an energy/material loss (such as with paper), is more harmful than simply dumping or incinerating it, partly because of the actual net loss, but also partly because of the smug mindset people enter into. Compare hybrid owners who drive more because they own a hybrid.

    Without "feel good" recycling, people might be more inclined to think about purchases (which comparable food comes in the less reusable less wasteful container), and manufacturers might be more inclined to adjust the market accordingly.

    ~sigh~
  • Re:Money (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @07:43PM (#32833738)

    It took about 20 years for people to really come around to attempting to recycle anything on a regular basis

    A lot of that was legislated.

  • Alternatives? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mangu (126918) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @07:57PM (#32833824)

    I have been seeing stories like these for several years. Although this situation is clearly undesirable, I have still to see anyone proposing a realistic alternative. The bottom line is doing proper recycling costs money, people do not want to pay.

    To take something apart and separate the elements used in its construction may cost more than putting it together. Who wants to pay twice the price for anything?

    The market pressure is all against any environmentally and safe recycling. The biggest part of most electronic equipment is plastic with very low value as scrap. Fiberglass, for instance, is nearly worthless, what could anyone possibly do with the fiberglass from an old circuit board? This fiberglass is mixed with small but significant amounts of lead, how would you remove the lead before sending the fiberglass to a landfill?

    The market isn't working? OK, but would the government work either? Try telling people that their $50 phone will have a $100 tax added for properly recycling it.

  • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:00PM (#32833852)

    This is a fine example of the government fucking with the free market where the electronics would probably just be traded via garage sales and thrift stores for a few decades until technology improves to easily recycle them.

    People so ignorant and so determined to foist their "me, me, me, I, myself, mine, all mine, fuck you!" world-view onto everyone else should be exhibits in some sort of "museum of insanity" where researchers into mental disorders could at least get some use out of you.

    I mean, you really suppose that people would "trade via garage sales" all that junk which they actually pay money for to be hauled away into massive, monumental, all-consuming land fills that keep growing year after year around any major city in the developed world? Really?

    The natural state of affairs in the consumer distopia is to, get this, consume without any regard to the consequences. People buy plastic crap, they use it until it breaks (a period usually measured in months) and then they promptly throw it out, followed by a new purchase of cheap disposable crap. And this model is a pivotal element of all the so-called "industrialized economies". Recycling occurs in the fucked-up model of "free market" only if some material in the waste is somehow worth extracting, at a minimum effort possible, which is precisely why it is shipped to China and Africa where children can have the privilege of wallowing in toxic shit to extract traces of raw materials. That is an unregulated "free market" at work. It works as long as the children are disposable and dying of toxic exposure tomorrow beats dying of hunger today. "Freedom" of choice in the "free market", as long as it isn't spoiled by all these "evil communist gubmint" types trying to do meddle doing evil things like trying to stop impoverished kids from inhaling toxic fumes and mountains of toxic crap from growing. The glorious "freedom" to pollute as long as it is somewhere else then you, cause "you got yours and the rest should go get theirs", you mendacious fuck, no?

  • Re:Money (Score:2, Insightful)

    by khallow (566160) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:11PM (#32833910)

    I was talking with one of my friends who works in the oil business. He was going off how the cleaner energy technologies will never really take off while oil is 3-5 times less expensive. And sadly, I have to agree: efforts are, of course, being made but considering the amount of money that could be put towards green energy (or nuclear fission or fusion), it's very half-hearted.

    Where's the problem? If oil really is that cheap, then it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to go with "green energy". And I'm unclear why you think insufficient money is being spent on renewable energy research. My take is that it's very ample and we're seeing diminishing returns on investment (for example, more efficient solar cells don't necessarily mean cheaper cost per watt of solar generating capacity).

    I hope, someday, that we will learn that protecting our natural resources are part of the cost of doing business.

    And how much would it cost to "protect our natural resources"? Suppose I chose to pay that cost rather than stop polluting?

    Here's my problem. The environmental movement seems focused on behavioral change, things like, making us recycle things, using less gasoline, etc. It doesn't seem to have a balanced approach to protecting our natural resources and doing all the other things that we want to do in a highly industrialized society. For example, a standard environmental approach to making green energy viable would be to make oil at least 3-5 times more expensive. Not expensive enough to balance the environment cost of the oil, but expensive enough so that you change your behavior, even if that is vastly suboptimal economically.

    I really can't take environmentalism seriously as long as humanity doesn't get a fair deal.

  • by lyinhart (1352173) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:18PM (#32833948)
    Yup. This is why the Basel Conventions, like lots of international "treaties" and orgs (*cough*U.N.*cough*) don't do anything. Countries partake in them just for the sake of international politics and don't follow through on their promises. Nope, the best way to stem the tide of ewaste is by making it more beneficial (i.e. $$$) to recycle things the right way and make electronics that don't contain so many hazardous materials.
  • by natehoy (1608657) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:21PM (#32833972) Journal

    Why doesn't the Linux community make a nice slim and secure distribution that will run on a 486/586 with only 256M of memory - or less?

    Some of the lightweight distros, like Peppermint, Puppy Linux, and several XFCE-based distros, would run quite nicely on a 486 with 64MB memory. If you insist on a heavyweight distro like Fedora, you've already made your feature/performance decision, and you haven't chosen performance.

  • by magarity (164372) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:31PM (#32834056)

    they start DEMANDING cleaner environments and standards
     
    Here's the tricky part: both the environmental and workplace conditions in the photographs of the Chinese sitesare all already against the law in China because Chinese people have demanded that this kind of thing not be allowed. What is not pictured is the recycling center owners in their Benzes and the local party bosses in their Audis (bought with bribes from the owners). Enforcing the demands for better conditions will require not different market choices or even new elections but a complete political revolution. The situation is too far out of control for normal market forces to correct when the government utterly fails to enforce laws or contracts.

  • Re:Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OldeTimeGeek (725417) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:41PM (#32834144)
    As opposed to what? Before people were "forced" to recycle? When old equipment almost always ended up in a landfill or was dumped into the ocean, as New York [nytimes.com] used to do with all of their trash?
  • Re:Meh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:46PM (#32834176)

    Well, government meddling won't stop fraudulent transactions either. The best you can do under any system is prosecute the fraud where it occurs. Which appears to be happening otherwise we wouldn't be seeing this story.

    Labelling stuff like this as a failure of the free market implies that this flaw is not shared by some other, better system. Except that other system doesn't exist, not as long as humans are running it anyway.

  • by cdrguru (88047) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:54PM (#32834238) Homepage

    Everyone should know about paper recycling - it costs more to use recycled paper than new. The quality is questionable as well. The result is that most paper is dumped into an incinerator or a landfill by recycling centers because it is pointless to attempt to recycle post-consumer paper.

    Plastic bottles can be recycled... except if one tiny little bottle cap or ring gets into the mix the entire batch is worthless. Since this happens most of the time again plastic bottles are not generally recycled.

    Aluminium is one great success in that it is actually cheaper to smelt down aluminium cans than it is to process the raw ore. So a lot of aluminium is actually recycled and it makes economic sense.

    Really, if we wanted to build the cost of recycling computers and other high-tech devices into the product cost you would quickly see a drop in new product consumption. $500 for the computer with a $500 add-on for recycling it. $600 for an iPad with $500 for recycling it. $25,000 for a car with $10,000 for recycling it. It would be one way to deal with the recycling problem and it would immediately end most of the need to actually recycle things because the sales would be so reduced as to not require much recycling at all. It would be a way of actually implementing "reduce".

    Without that, there is going to be little incentive to either meaningfully reduce consumer buying or force consumers to recycle obsolete or non-functional items. I'd say a minimum charge of $500 for any high-tech device would be reasonable, assuming the devices are being disassembled and processed using Western wage level workers. Now the $10 for the plastic water bottle (each) might also have an effect on both sales of such single-use bottles and the number entering landfills.

  • Re:Can't be done (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:56PM (#32834250) Journal
    It isn't clear that PC recycling can be done cheaper than just letting expendable kids do it over open fires; but that isn't the same as saying it can't be done.

    Compare your average PC, in terms of metals content, to the sorts of ores that are considered economically viable to extract. Particularly once you consider that somebody with a selection of common screwdrivers, and maybe a prybar, can do substantial material separation mechanically(or, if labor costs bite, shredder + magnets). With either screwdriver work or shredding + electromagnets, most of the steel that went in can be recovered fairly easily. The remaining scrap is, in percentage by weight, substantially richer in things like copper, gold, lead, and tin than many ores that are considered commercially viable.

    The real nuisance is a lot of the plastics. ABS+dyes+possibly plasticisers and other application specific additives isn't worth all that much, Ground fiberglass composites are probably worth even less.. However, with a lot of electronics, both of those will have enough halogenated flame retardants baked in that you can't really safely burn the stuff, and burying it is just an invitation to the local groundwater for any lead you didn't manage to extract.
  • by mdmkolbe (944892) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @09:00PM (#32834276)

    The summary says the US is "one of four countries that have not ratified" but the link just lists four notable countries. Scroll down a bit and you will see that they list 15 countries haven't ratified any of the "International Toxics Agreements" (only 15 have ratified all). But is it worse than that since they only list 163 countries when there are 195(*) countries in the world. Assuming the countries they don't list haven't ratified on then that means there are a total of 47 countries that haven't ratified.

    Technically the US is "one of four countries that haven't ratified", but technically it is also one of five countries that haven't ratified, and one of three, one of 12, one of 18 and one of 47 countries that haven't ratified.

    (*) The UN has 192 member countries but excludes Vatican City, Kosovo and Taiwan.

  • by Kreigaffe (765218) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @09:07PM (#32834342)

    This is one of the things people usually overlook when bashing America.

    We rarely sign on to treaties and accords and fail to honor them; more often, we fail to sign on yet still follow the rules as if we had.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @09:09PM (#32834362)

    I have no idea where you are getting your info, but you are wrong on plastic bottles. They sell them as regrind.

  • Re:Alternatives? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @09:45PM (#32834584)

    I believe the system of "offsets" might work very well for recycling manufactured goods.

    Make every manufacturer responsible for the disposal of anything he makes and sells. If I make and sell things that can be easily recycled or are biodegradable, I get to sell credits to the companies who make and sell stuff that's made out of lead and mercury and other stuff that kills people.

    Just because so-called conservatives shit themselves whenever they hear about carbon credits and other innovative approaches to the problem of pollution doesn't mean it's not an elegant and workable solution.

    Ultimately, if we are going to demand products that have poison in them, we need to pay to have those products properly disposed of. There's no other way. The "developed" world has been shitting in the pool for a long time now, and it's time we pay to have it cleaned up a bit. We were able to do it with the Great Lakes and the air in most US cities, thanks to environmental regulations from the government. Now we have to extend that thinking to the less obvious pollution, such as is found in "high-tech" products.

  • Re:Governkment Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsclient (112577) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @09:48PM (#32834596) Homepage

    1. "Regulations" are the mechanism society has for enforcing a common concensus. As a society, "we" decided that cholera was bad. The solution (alongside education and convincing, of course) is regulation: all houses in area "x" must have sewer connections and must not have an outhouse. And there's a team of people to take water samples. And there are regulations on how to test the water.
    2. Laws are created by congress. There's too many to talk all at once; the solution they and every other large organization in the world have picked is to make smaller groups. These groups are called "committee"s. Are you objecting to dividing into smaller groups and attacking problems in-depth? Or is your object to the word "committee"? Did you know the libertarian party has a committee?
    3. There are no "czars" in this government. Some people are more senior, and have more authority; other people are less senior and have less authority. Are you in favor of everyone having the same authority? Or do you object to the word "czar"? Heaven knows it's an objectionable word, but it's one that the media uses to describe otherwise boring titles.
    4. I don't understand your problem with agencies. One of the agencies, for example, is the Presidio trust (I picked them at random). Do you object to a group of people, experts in the Presidio, from managing the place? Or is your objection that this group of people has a common name, "The Presidio Trust". Would you be happier if we called them group 184? Perhaps you think that we should simply sell off this land -- does this mean that you think there should be no parks at all?

    Really, I don know why you got moderated as "insiteful". It sounds more like "thoughtless".

  • by NJRoadfan (1254248) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @09:54PM (#32834646)

    $25,000 for a car with $10,000 for recycling it.

    Cars are already one of the most recycled items out there. When they are taken out of service (usually after 150-200k miles worth of driving), the parts tend to land up in other cars. When all the good parts are gone, they are turned into cubes, melted and turned into cars again.

  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @10:05PM (#32834708) Homepage Journal

    I think you meant "the 3rd episode of the new season of Futurama".

  • Re:Meh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bertoelcon (1557907) * <berto.el.con@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @10:12PM (#32834740)

    Except that other system doesn't exist, not as long as humans are running it anyway.

    So we just need to let robots sort this out then.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:06PM (#32835054)

    Especially when it comes to torture.

  • Re:Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:09PM (#32835074)

    The landfills are full. They're overflowing, and it's getting into the groundwater. We're also using much higher amounts of fascinating and previously very expensive toxins such as mercury and chromium in the manufacture of household goods, and creating fascinating and useful toxins such as PCB's (which are mostly outlawed in the US but heavily used in manufacturing in India).

    This isn't merely a "recycling to preserve resources" issue, although copper, gold, platinum, and varous rare earths used in transformers have become increasingly expensive and valuable to recycle. It's a poison control issue, and while humanitarian concerns make it wise to consider the fate of those who handle these toxins, it's also important to remember that they grow food we buy in some of these places, and they will _lie_ aobut the toxin levels of what they sell.

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:37PM (#32835234) Homepage

    Everyone should know about paper recycling - it costs more to use recycled paper than new. The quality is questionable as well. The result is that most paper is dumped into an incinerator or a landfill by recycling centers because it is pointless to attempt to recycle post-consumer paper.

    Plastic bottles can be recycled... except if one tiny little bottle cap or ring gets into the mix the entire batch is worthless. Since this happens most of the time again plastic bottles are not generally recycled.

    Fortunately, this being Slashdot, you can make a bunch of off-the-cuff, bullshit claims with no support whatsoever, and bam! +5 insightful.

    Really, it's an excellent Slashdot-style karma-whore-post:

    1) Derides environmentalist/"green"/liberal ideas,
    2) Has an anti-establishment bent, with a "the people are stupid" twist,
    3) Heavy dose of smug superiority.

    You couldn't have played it any better. Kudos!

  • Re:Meh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by skids (119237) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:40PM (#32835272) Homepage

    Actually, a better system does exist. You require manufacturers to price in recycling/disposal into the original product price, and use the derived money to run the program. This system tends to ensure that one recycler gets a bunch of identical units, which increases efficiency. Some companies do this voluntarily because they can refurbish turned-in units to fulfill warrantee obligations.

    It's being tried as a legislative requirement in various laboratories of democracy [environmentalleader.com] with varying details (some do not front-load the disposal price.)

  • by Neoprofin (871029) <neoprofin AT hotmail DOT com> on Thursday July 08, 2010 @12:11AM (#32835500)
    The sad reality is that honestly, there isn't any market for equipment beyond a certain capacity. Yes there are people with no computers, but they actually don't want 486s, in the developed world it's because a 486 still can't run modern software or provide what they consider a satisfactory experience, in the developing world it's frequently a matter of infrastructure. People with no drinking water and no stable electrical grid don't see 486s with Linux as a solution to their problems and frankly with the glut of PIII/Athlon machines that were long since throw into corporate storage closets there's no point for even the stingiest of non-profits to buy up old 486 for charity because for pennies more they could have machines five times as capable.

    I work in electronics recycling and resale, and frankly we go through this every day looking at old CRTs and PCs that still function, but quite frankly no one wants them, and even if they did the expected lifespan (especially on monitors) is so short that one has to ask the question "We can recycle this responsibly now, or we can send it to someone for 1 year and pray that they'll do the right thing".
  • Re:Alternatives? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arth1 (260657) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @12:13AM (#32835514) Homepage Journal

    I have been seeing stories like these for several years. Although this situation is clearly undesirable, I have still to see anyone proposing a realistic alternative. The bottom line is doing proper recycling costs money, people do not want to pay.

    The realistic alternative is to force people to pay.
    Mandatory bottle refunds actually work, despite the dire warnings from the soda and beer industry, and fierce opposition from the reactionary right.
    Similar with wreck deposits on cars. Likewise, when car buyers are forced to pay $500 extra, and get that back when they turn it in, far fewer wrecks will be found at the bottom of a lake with the VIN filed off.

    We have governments and laws precisely because people are selfish bastards who can't be trusted to do the right thing unless forced. We can intellectually agree with many things, but when it comes to putting up, we aren't all that good at it unless forced with an incentive we can't refuse.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 08, 2010 @03:18AM (#32836316)

    Ignorant fool.

    There are not president of Africa. It's a continent containing a great number of different countries.

  • by mjwx (966435) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @04:01AM (#32836502)

    Sure, these people might have no protection against toxins...but the alternative choice might be starvation or prostitution or even more horrible jobs like stone crushing. (yes, that is a job)

    So, a girl who can earn a months wage in a factory in just three nights on her back is far worse then the Bhopal disaster?

    This is not insightful at all. It is a terrible justification for keeping people in terrible conditions and it's wrong, people want to believe it because it makes them feel better.

    You're rant against "do gooders" ignores all the people who work to establish sustainable farming and industry with safety that meets most western standards. That means workers aren't standing around in toxins, have helmets and gloves as well as several other simple safety measures like training (e.g. spot the hazard). It helps you to belittle people actually trying to make lives better as that means you aren't being as selfish as you really are. It may come as a surprise to you but most people involved in "doing good" in poorer nations actually want to help develop sustainable communities, these are people like non-religious private aid agencies and the UN amongst others. I used to work for a company that formed a non-profit charity organisation after the tsunami in Asia, for the most part all this organisation does is zero interest loans and business advice (supporting the people who take the loans).

    Note that when 3rd worlders start making more than 10K USD per person in Per-Capita

    You really have no clue about the third or developing world. The problem isn't when the average wage out of 100 people is 10K, I can show you that in Thailand and 80 of the 100 people will be subsistence farmers. The problem the developing world has is that the distribution wealth is so terribly lopsided, a few people make billions whilst most of the population makes little.

    Do you honestly think that factories in China, Vietnam and Thailand operate without the consent of the local politicians or business leaders? No, of course not they're involved and getting their cut.

    I'm sorry to interrupt your free market drivel, but ignoring the problem will not make it go away, it took 20 years just for the Indian people to get to declare Union Carbide exec's guilty, they were fined US$2000 and let go, not a single exec ended up in jail, not a single western exec was even charged.

  • Re:Meh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @07:43AM (#32837632) Homepage

    In order for your statement to have even a chance of correctness the following needs to hold :

    Do we have EREOI > 0.2 recycling techniques for a reasonable range of goods ? (that way you allow "green" policies to quintuple the price of goods, but no more : energy is by far the biggest expense in the production of just about anything. Oh and don't let this go as an indication that I think the economy has a snowball's chance in hell if prices quintuple : it doesn't)

    Unfortunately the answer is simple : no.

    We have a few (very few) examples of recycling procedures that are worth it, like recovering gold from older electronics, but these are little snowflakes of hope 1000km in-between in the sahara that is our economy. If you somehow manage to implement this rule 90% of humans on earth will have to revert to the stone age.

    Greenies need to understand basic economics. On oil, margins are less than 2% (2.3% is the biggest figure I ever saw, and that was before the price rises). That means that the sum of all policies you implement to mitigate it's impact has to be significantly less than a 2% sales tax on oil or the economy collapses. And if you think we're bad for the environment now, just take a look, say in Azerbaidjan, just how huge the impact of the collapse of the soviet union was even on it's "protected" areas, never mind in the cities.

    And frankly, given the predicted cost of national healthcare, you've just run out of money entirely. We'll be lucky to still exist in 100 years, and the U.S. will sure as hell not cooperate much at all in any global projects. Nor will quite a few of the other nations.

  • Re:Meh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tophermeyer (1573841) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @09:01AM (#32838446)

    they are a developing country. how are they supposed to have the same standards as the rest of the developed world? remember the west went through the same dirty as fuck industrial stage 100 years ago.

    Well, yeah. The west did go through that stage, and it is pretty clear how dangerous and stupid it would be to allow developing countries to make the same stupid mistakes. Especially considering that the higher populations of these developing will be demanding vastly more goods during their dirty industrial stage than did the west during ours.

    oh and the whole landfills are full is just bullshit. guess why they are full? because governments refuse to build new ones. ergo, they fill up... there's plenty of land to build land fills.

    So your solution is just be to build more landfills? That doesn't solve the problem. In fact, that spreads the problem. As a global society we produce entirely too much waste. And yes, the west is mostly to blame with our rampant consumerism and "dirty industrialism", our B. But that does not give developing nations a pass on destroying the environment as well. In fact, it places responsibility on such nations to develop cleaner industrial process, which involve reusing the vast quantities of resources sitting in landfills.

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