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The Conscientious Computing Guide

Arrow Image an essay on the importance of supporting international labor struggles and the preservation of our environment in the choices we make when acquiring a new computer



Section 1: The Introduction
----------------------------

Well it\'s certainly been a good while since I\'ve written one of these. The discussion for today is progress. Progress at the expense of the people. Progress at the expense of the environment. Progress with no regard for well being to feed corporations (themselves as they exist today being a fairly modern construct) that have more wealth and resources than many countries. From NAFTA to CAFTA to \"free market\" capitalism as a whole \"free\" trade as it exists today substantially works to the disadvantage of the poor to the advantage of international corporations that though legally have all the rights and privileges of citizens do not nearly have to answer as many questions. So what is the solution? For many the answer is fair trade and reform within the WTO. For others these ills are consequence of a larger class struggle, and nothing short of revolution will resolve these issues. This article doesn\'t attempt to address any of these solutions (at least not directly). To address these concerns there\'s always demonstrations when there\'s a G8 summit or a WTO Ministrial Conference, and I highly suggest if you have the means to attend then do it. No, this article attempts to concentrate solely on our own contribution to this exploitation, specifically within the computer industry. Real change for our planet and the affected working class may be a ways down the road unfortunately, but there are steps that we as individuals can take right now to lessen our own impact and contribution to this madness. So without further delay...


Section 2: Sins of Neoliberalism
---------------------------------

Before going into the solution it seems necessary to first go over what exactly is the problem we\'re really talking about here. After all, the damning effects of our current system is hardly noticable within our daily lives. Probably the most well known case to mention would be the iPod controversy in 2006 concerning Apple and their supplier, Foxconn Electronics. Among the conditions found were 15 hour shifts, wages well below the legal minimum in China, extremely poor working conditions, and equally inadequate
dormitories. Startling news obviously, but hardly an isolated instance. Foxconn Electronics has a history of similar reports, and is hardly the only supplier to be concerned with. In 2005 it was reported by SOMO that many of the suppliers for Acer and Fujitsu Siemens Computers in China and the Phillipines on top of long shifts with low wages; workers were handling toxic chemicals in poorly ventilated areas without any means of protection. Furthermore in the Phillipines workers were threatened with dismissal when they attempted to organize to better their working conditions. Similar reports from CAFOD in 2004 cite suppliers in China, Mexico, and Thailand for IBM, HP, and Dell for similar violations of workers rights. The problem with cases like these is as they are exposed if they actually get any media attention then the company will release some statement to the effect of \"Oops, we had no clue, and we\'ll get right on that\". Then if there is any inspection by the company then operations many times will simply be moved to other factories and locations where these same horrid conditions persist, or will simply script their workers on what to tell inspectors when they arrive and temporarily whitewash operations and deny everything until the heat dies off. There\'s no follow up and the same cycle of exploitation continues, because unfortunately it\'s just more profitable that way. These are indeed not merely a problem with Apple, Dell, or any company in particular but with the \"free market\" as we know it in general. So what is the solution?


Section 3: Resistance Through Non-Participation
------------------------------------------------

Besides protests and direct action we as participants in a consumer society have a very simple means of resistance at our disposal, and that is non-participation. This varies from shopping for fair trade products, or simply doing as little shopping as possible. For fair trade alternatives a decent resource would be Gooshing...

www.gooshing.co.uk/computers/

The problem I have with this site is most of the attention is given to \"green shopping\". This is a decent option for the eco-concience who want to feel a bit better about their purchases, but in most cases the products listed hardly address the labor rights issues. There is a ranking available to assess this, but usually there is no entry listed at all as far as this ranking is concerned. Still it\'s worth a check just to see. Another option which should be obvious (and one that you probably already do) is simply receiving all your computing necessities second-hand. Mostly everyone has spare parts, and you can simply ask your friends to see if their company will allow you to take any computers that might get trashed otherwise. This obviously doesn\'t work with all companies, but if your friend is in good standing then this may very well work. This is obvious, and again you most likely already do this without any idea of resistance in mind. However if you use this solely as your means of \"shopping\" then you have effectively cut yourself from the consumer side of this exploitation. Finally much of this and other great finds can be garnered by dumpster diving. There are dumpster diving communities and very well an entire movement centered around this activity, and it\'s a great way to separate yourself from the free market itself in many aspects of your daily life. Tips and tricks are beyond the scope of this article, but if you need more help on getting started then I would suggest reading the Art & Science of Dumpster Diving by John Hoffman. Search the torrent sites, or just google \"intitle:art and science of dumpster diving filetype:pdf\". After you get your hands dirty for a bit you can go to dumpsterworld.com or dumpsterdiving.net to network and trade with other dumpster divers. The point here is non-participation. These solutions obviously don\'t address the problem itself, but there\'s an alter-globalization movement at large trying to address this issue. Nope, this is a revolution within your own life. Changes you can direct yourself to remove yourself from the problems that plague our global economy.

Comments

korgon May 17 2009 - 03:11:09
Fuckin' worthless. Thanks for wasting database space.
fashizzlepopon May 17 2009 - 03:46:11
It seems like these are all from that hackers cookbook P.O.S. These are lame....
BalDruidon May 30 2009 - 22:57:14
Ill tell you what is worthless and lame. People who dont care at all for the lives of others or how the world we live in is run. What concerns me too is the ignorance of most people, who dont even have a glue about whats going on in the world. This may just be an opinion of one single human, by i somehow have this feeling, that there is alot more out there who hate the ignorance and carelessnes that alot of people have.
BalDruidon May 30 2009 - 22:58:23
hmm the "by i somehow" should have been "but i somehow" XD
defineon May 31 2009 - 03:37:00
suck
S1L3NTKn1GhTon June 15 2009 - 03:30:12
I was gonna comment asking if anyone actually likes and read through all this Bullshit, but now that i see above comments i don't have to ask. Pfft , agree with korg fuckin worthless waste of DB space, and admin should nver have approved it.
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