Boogeyman E-Waste: Stats the Charitable Industrial Complex Won't Share

Well, in another week I may or may not be in Championsgate (Orlando) Florida for the next E-Scrap Conference.  I've long made peace with not speaking or presenting at the Resource Recycling conference... speaking to groups of peers who mostly feel they know what you know is a more thankless task than many realize.

This blog is inspired by Max Rosers 2017 paper, "Our World in Data."

If the conference isn't cancelled due to Hurricane Irma (there will be about a week to clean up the airports), I'll go to attend the E-Life documentary screening, and to make the usual noise about the boogeyman approach to environmental awareness.

360 Degree Racism: The Privileged Wage Collateral Damage on Emerging "E-Waste" Markets

Do rich people have more leverage and 'unfair' advantage in a marketplace?  Absolutely.  No one denies that in a used car transaction that the wealthy owner of the car doesn't have the same need to make the sale, and the poor person - who needs an affordable car to get to work - has more to lose if the sale doesn't happen.  The wealthy have the power and privilege.

That said, the stupidest and most ignorant conclusion is that poor people should be put in a different marketplace than rich people.  That they shouldn't trade together.  Years ago, an NGO leader told me that poor people should repair poor peoples stuff, and rich people should repair rich peoples stuff... that identity should define the legality of the transactions.

It is a kind of stupid that could only occur in a marketplace contaminated by "identity politics".  Instead of talking about the transaction, and what's in the best interest of the free market participants, we are defining them as representatives of social groups.  In a market where some collective guilt or social liability has been whipped into a froth such that the rich person feels liability or exposure to the idea that they have exploited the poor person in a transaction, and therefore choose to shred the car rather than allow anyone to say they sold it in a transaction, to a poor person, in a marketplace where they held the upper hand.

#360DegreeRacism is the spawn of identity politics.

Used Chevy in Poorest Rural Mexico

A Spectrum Of Opinions

Twenty years ago, I was one of the most bullish advocates of widespread internet access for the masses.  I saw the web as anti-totalitarian, progressive, feminist, and leaning towards fair.  It would expose us all to more information and culture. The "open air" of democracy, I thought, would prove harkening if not irresistible to people living under despots who had grown accustomed to dishing out "pravda" (truth) through government and corporate press hegemonies.

In some ways, internet access has, indeed, worked out that way. But the "democratization of online information" has also forced us to deal with other things we see in popular governance.  Tyranny of the majority, gerrymandering, and appeal to rhetoric over reason... these are as much at play in the internet today as innovation and shared compassion.  Plato's Republic must be required reading at Facebook headquarters.  There are fewer editors of the internet, and fewer checks and balances of power.  It may be a pure democracy (without executives, representatives, or judges) - which, Plato says, naturally gives rise to dictatorship.

"Wise men speak because they have something to say;
Fools because they have to say something" - Plato

People on both sides of arguments today (online) are trying to bully the moderates.  In doing so, they share a common position on the social spectrum.

GPS LIE DETECTOR? Flagrant False Claim #Ewaste Watchdog (GPS Tracking Monitour interview)

Wow, haven't followed up that much since the MIT SenseAble City Lab and BAN GPS tracking project was pulled to MIT legal office about a year ago.  Readers are aware that this blog tracked many of the devices into places that BAN didn't want to talk about - like a University reuse operation in Faisalabad, or modern 21st century EcoPark in Hong Kong (no longer obscured in Monitour).

Well I just ran across a little video produced in 2017 by Luen Hai - Decoding the Connection.  In it, at about minute 6, a Hong Kong reporter identifies Jim Puckett of Basel Action Network as an important expert in e-waste imports to Hong Kong.  Then Jim says on screen that 54% of the GPS trackers the organization placed in e-waste was shipped to Hong Kong.

If you know about this study, you may think I made a typo. The numbers are so specifically wrong. But this is Jim's recorded voice, in his own words... screenshots with subtitles below.

1. "These little trackers, and I can show you one, they are like little lie detectors"

IRONY of IRONIES...  Listen to what Jim tells the filmmaker about the GPS "lie detector"...  Full video at bottom below.