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Intel Challenges Manufacturers To Avoid "Conflict Metals"

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  • Re:no (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pla (258480) on Friday January 10, 2014 @09:21AM (#45915581) Journal
    Why did this get modded down? Tactlessly phrased or not, this AC has pretty much expressed what most of us feel - Who gives the least damn about "conflict metals" vs the price of their new tablet?

    The only real problem with using raw materials from areas dominated by various tribal warlords comes from the risk of supply disruption. Anything else amounts to denying domesticated primates their reality-given right to treat each other like shit.
  • by plover (150551) on Friday January 10, 2014 @09:24AM (#45915597) Homepage Journal

    Hooray, activism works.

    Seriously, simply by trying to avoid conflict minerals, they are already helping to stop fueling those regional wars. Does that make them "good guys"? It makes them "better than they were before." Which is a good thing.

    Nobody's always perfect, so we should at least celebrate a little when someone improves.

  • Re:no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erikkemperman (252014) on Friday January 10, 2014 @09:39AM (#45915655)

    Tactlessly phrased or not, this AC has pretty much expressed what most of us feel - Who gives the least damn about "conflict metals" vs the price of their new tablet?

    I'm not saying you're wrong -- perhaps most of us do gladly suffer other people's misery if it knocks a few bucks off our retail price.

    But I wonder if this would still be true if more of us were educated about the facts on the ground. It's easy to not care about distant people whom you've never met, or just absentmindedly heard about in the news.

    To some extent this strategy of simply labeling, as in differentiating regular from "conflict" or "blood" sources, sort of worked out ok for diamonds. Not completely, of course, but it absolutely helps.

    Majority or not, the complacent are a huge part of the problem.

  • Re:no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday January 10, 2014 @01:15PM (#45918139) Journal

    Why did this get modded down? Tactlessly phrased or not, this AC has pretty much expressed what most of us feel - Who gives the least damn about "conflict metals" vs the price of their new tablet?

    As much as I'm deeply-not-outraged by AC, there is a distinction to be made: Everyone operates under what might be called 'moral myopia': things closer to them(either literally geographically closer, or socially/in-their-living-room-by-TV/etc.) affect them more, more distant things affect them less. This is just how humans are specced. Plus, if it didn't work that way, the utterly incomprehensible scale of continual human tragedy worldwide would probably reduce us to nonfuctional, catatonic shells.

    Given that a mostly-landlocked war in the relatively hostile environment of central Africa is about as far from most of us as anything can be (some locations are more distant as-the-crow-flies; but handy services like 'roads' and 'airports' and 'enough bars and hotels to attract foreign journalists' don't really exist, so the area barely even gets written about or filmed), it's entirely to be expected that what goes on there would have vanishingly low moral salience for us.

    However, people who tediously go on about just how much they don't care, and how these supply chain policies are total regulatory bullshit, and so on, aren't psychologically distant from the situation. (They are in fact more engaged with it than those who know little and say less, or even some slactivist petition-signers). They actually don't give a fuck, and overtly support corporate supply chain convenience and incrementally cheaper gizmos made possible by a brutal slow-burn conflict [wikipedia.org] substantially driven and financed by access to mineral resources in the area. That point of view is pretty fucked up.

    (Now, one accusation that is probably valid is that Intel is being slightly sneaky here: Intel makes a comparatively small quantity (particularly by mass) of mostly-very-high-margin products. Their products do require a number of esoteric materials, and they probably could be making some greater amount of money if they just held their nose and went with the lowest bidder in all cases; but in terms of 'dollars in profit per gram of Tantalum used' Intel probably crushes almost everybody else, certainly the board-stuffers at Foxconn buying capacitors by the containerload to assemble boards, or the guys at Vishay making-it-up-in-volume actually manufacturing tantalum and tantalum-doped ceramic capacitors. Intel can probably afford to be pickier than many other players.)

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