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back to article How much should an ethical phone cost? An extra penny? Or $4bn

As the Dodd Frank regulations about conflict minerals approach the date at which people actually have to do something about them, it's worth seeing if they're really the monstrously ghastly clusterfuck I've been predicting they will be. Much to my surprise they're not: they're worse. Previous El Reg near-annual installments of …

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100,000!

Where does your "100,000 suppliers" number come from?

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Re: 100,000!

It doesn't really matter that much though, if we know where the $4bn number from? If it's 10,000 suppliers but still $4bn it's not an improvement.

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A penny on top of the several hundred pounds we smartphone junkies fork out on a yearly basis? Do they think we're made of money or something?!

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Mushroom

You know why its 6000 and not ~50.

Because few of those 50 are headquartered in the U.S. and these laws would mean, should mean and do mean exactly nothing to a company whose enterprise is wholly outside of the U.S.

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Re: You know why its 6000 and not ~50.

But at least those 6000 companies only have to check the 50 something companies they might be buying processed Ta from.

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Re: You know why its 6000 and not ~50.

"But at least those 6000 companies only have to check the 50 something companies they might be buying processed Ta from." phuzz

Yeah, but what if you're buying chips off someone - who buys their own Ta for their own chip foundry?

Tim's point is you're not just having to audit your raw materials suppliers, but everyone who sells you a component or finished product - because they or their suppliers might have used conflict Ta as part of their process. That ends up being a really long chain. And a company like Apple or Dell would have many of those long chains to chase up.

For instance, let's take a company like Apple.

We'll pretend for the sake of the example they only have one supplier - Foxconn.

So Apple ask Foxconn "do you buy conflict minerals"?

And they say no.

But that's not the end of it.

What about the screens that come from Samsung? So now we have to interrogate Foxxconn's suppliers - every supplier of chips, circuitry, panels, batteries. Every cable, speaker, RAM modules, etc. Only they won't buy raw minerals either, so we have to go to the processors they buy from, and from there back to the ore smelters.

They can't just go straight to the few smelters, because at this stage they probably don't know where their raw materials come from - although auditing all of them on the off-chance you MIGHT buy from them would probably be cheaper. Although unless you certify all smelters conflict-free, you're still having to say "we might have conflict material in our products, but we can't say for certain".

As Tim says, forcing every major American company to do that is utterly ludicrous - you're going to have auditors from every major US company, knocking on the door of the same 50 or so smelters, having got there via a circuitous route of thousands of different processors and intermediates.

What would make more sense is for the US Government to certify those smelters who do fall under US jurisdiction, and then offer a voluntary certification service to non-US smelters.

And then ban US companies from importing any product that does not come from a certified smelter.

There's still going to be a compliance workload but it's more a matter of collecting the issued ore-origin certificate that's been passed from smelter to processor to chip fab to assembler, as compared to every company setting up their own certification system, which is unbelievably wasteful.

That would dedupe the effort of tens of thousands of compliance officers doing the exact same thing for thousands of companies. Go to source, far easier than the bureaucratic clusterfuck Tim describes, and a lot more effective.

Or for $4Bn we could just send the peacekeepers into Congo or set up a minerals blockade from Western Africa and make sure conflict ore never makes it out. It's actually a reasonably good reason to go, compared to our recent efforts at liberating people.

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Bureauecrap

Why the surprise. 95% of a bureauocrat's job is to justify the further employment of bureauocrats.

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Re: Bureauecrap

actually, no. Only if they are set in motion by a SIF on a crusade where the scope of the bureacrats duties are ill defined so they can grow cancerously. If you set up a public service with defined goals and limits, they are just another organisation. Sometimes a better more efficient organisation than megacorp PHB efforts because decent staff care about the public good.

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Usual problem ?

very interesting article Tim. Is this another of the problem of good intent and great ignorance ? Ignorance so great it cannot conceive of asking people in the industry in question how they would solve the problem ? Or more of the reductionist syndrome where the basic assumption is that everyone has all the time and money required to do more paper shuffling ?

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Re: Usual problem ?

I've had a long conversation with another group in this field who are proposing regulations for the EU along the same lines.

I asked two questions (among many others).

1) What will be thew costs of your proposed regulations?

2) What will be the benefits expressed again as a cash sum?

The response I got was that it wasn't their job to do cost benefit analyses.

It was about then that I started to get very angry with them. WTF do you mean you don't know whether there will be a net benefit from these proposals of yours?

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@Tim

So just exactly what is the cash sum value of a human life? Or a rape? ...a maiming?

When is it "too much to pay"? $0.10 per phone? $10 per phone? $100 per phone?

What if morality in this regard is a cost with no benefits expressed as a cash sum at all?

Fuck 'em if they can't cope with dying for our fondleslabs? I truly am curious.

$4B a year seems pretty goddamned insignificant if we're talking about 2B devices, which is about what this says is the global consumption rate. That's $2 a phone. Is $2 /device "too much?"

What if we're only talking about $4B to cover units shipped into the USA? That's $4B across 125M devices. That's $32 per device. Is $32 /device "too much?"

I'm legitimately curious. I would sure as hell hope that every human being on earth's answer to that question would be the exact same, but I am all to painfully aware of the number of sociopaths that inhabit our world.

I would surely love it if we could get the kind of international cooperation together required to have all the refineries and all the chip spinners do their part and turn Billions of dollars of regulatory cost into a meager few million in externally-monitored self regulation.

Unfortunately, we have no way to compel many of these companies to agree to such a scheme or to enforce their compliance. They are beyond our jurisdiction. So instead we have to act on the "little guy" and use their market pressure to keep the multinationals in check.

Shitty, but there you have it.

I will gladly pay an additional $32 per device to ensure my widgets are sourced from conflict-free sources. Frankly, I'm fucking appalled that there are people who wouldn't. I am ashamed to be a member of the same species as those individuals and I consider anyone who finds that "too much to pay" as no different in my mind from the bastards perpetuating these horrific crimes: both groups view the life and suffering of another sapient being as irrelevant to their own selfish, petty desires.

How much is too much? And isn't a solution - even if it is not the most efficient solution - better than letting this sort of shit continue?

We must each answer these questions for ourselves.

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Re: @Tim

"So just exactly what is the cash sum value of a human life?"

Of one? Impossible to say. The statistical value of a life? Depends upon what value the people in that society put on a life. Usual number for the US is about $5 million, for the UK £2 and a bit million. It's very, very much lower in much poorer countries of course.

No, not because poor people are worth less. But because poor people themselves value their own lives less highly.

For how we work this out is we look at the amount of money people demand for taking certain risks. What is the wage premium for a job that is known to be more dangerous than others for example? From that we work backwards to that statistical valuation of a life. And yes, obviously and clearly poor people will take greater risks for the same amount of money than those of us blessed to be born into a rich country would.

So, that's how we work it out.

"I would surely love it if we could get the kind of international cooperation together required to have all the refineries and all the chip spinners do their part and turn Billions of dollars of regulatory cost into a meager few million in externally-monitored self regulation.

Unfortunately, we have no way to compel many of these companies to agree to such a scheme or to enforce their compliance."

Strange that. For the electronics industry does have a scheme that does exactly this. And it works too: as I predicted some years ago it would. Because it's designed by people who know what the fuck they're doing.

"I will gladly pay an additional $32 per device to ensure my widgets are sourced from conflict-free sources. Frankly, I'm fucking appalled that there are people who wouldn't. I am ashamed to be a member of the same species as those individuals and I consider anyone who finds that "too much to pay" as no different in my mind from the bastards perpetuating these horrific crimes: both groups view the life and suffering of another sapient being as irrelevant to their own selfish, petty desires."

Great, you do so. Others might not share your views so why should they have to pay the price premium you are willing to pay?

And of a great deal more interest of course is that is spending $4 billion this way (recall, it doesn't stop anyone using conflict minerals. It only says that they must say if they are: which isn't going to budge that many consumers in China, is it?) the best way of stopping the problem? Perhaps spending $4 billion on sending the US Marines in to kill the fuckers would work better? Perhaps the $10 million industry plan would work just as well? Which is, of course, why you do cost benefit analyses. So that you can work out what is the best way of doing something.

For of course, if we can solve the problem for $10 million instead of $4 billion then that gives is $3.9 billion to spend on something else. I dunno, and education or health care system for Eastern Congo sounds like a better use of that sort of money that a bureaucratic fucking paper chase, doesn't it?

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Re: @Tim

If the choices on the table are "spend $10M to make the problem go away" or "spend $4B to make the problem go away" then spending $10M is more rational. Assuming it's possible given the political and economic realities that surround the issue.

If, however, the choice is between spending $4B to deal with the issue and not dealing with the issue at all, I say we deal with the issue and fuck the greedy "people" (and I use the term exceedingly loosely) that feel $32 per device is too much to pay for the lives of their fellow human beings.

Your presentation of the options on the table made it seem that the $10M option was not political feasible and that our choices had become "spend the $4B to deal with the problem" or "don't deal with the problem at all."

Alternative or more efficient solutions than $4B to solve this issue would be ideal. Unless you're a fucking sociopath, not dealing with the problem at all is absolutely unacceptable.

So hey, let's get viable options on the table and a means to move towards them. If, however, the more rational avenues are blocked, we still have an ethical obligation to proceed using whatever means are, in fact, available.

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Re: @Tim

I usually switch off a debate when I see a question like "What is the monetary value of a human life?"

It's a stupid question and has no real meaning. How can you possible put a value on a human life?

Like when someone tries to justify some stupid, far-reaching legislation with "think of the children" or "isn't it worth it to save lives". It might well be, but using a human cost monetary justification is stupid and pointless.

You can only frame the question as "Is the cost equitable to the benefit we see from it" and even that is an entirely subjective question.

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Re: @Tim

I'm so very deeply sorry that I don't view human being as commodities to be bartered and discarded.

I'll do my best to be more of of an amoral sociopath in the future comments, just for you.

By the way, just out of curiosity, what's the value of your life? How much is an equitable amount to ask society to protect it from exploitation, harm and an untimely end? How much is too much to ask? Why? Do you apply the same value to others?

Please, detail your cold logic for the world, skelband. I await your wisdom, in awe of your profound humanity.

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Re: @Tim

> Please, detail your cold logic for the world, skelband. I await your wisdom, in awe of your profound humanity.

Firstly, I'm not quite sure if you with me or against me here. Your post is a bit ambiguous.

>I'm so very deeply sorry that I don't view human being as commodities to be bartered and discarded.

You pose a false dichotomy. Realising that it is pointless trying to put an economic value on a person doesn't mean that you don't care, it means that you prefer to use other, more useful measures.

I value human life. However, having a conceptual scale with a pot of bodies on one side and a pile of money on the other seems to me to be futile and meaningless.

Ask a father what his daughter is worth and he'll probably say he would die for her: he would not trade all the money in the world for her, her intrinsic value is not something that you can put into sterling. The question is meaningless and facile.

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Re: @Tim

"I'm so very deeply sorry that I don't view human being as commodities to be bartered and discarded."

Must make salary negotiations very hard.

Very glad you're not a doctor.

PS Thousands have died to make your life a bit easier. Getting frothy mouthed about it won't change the fact.

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Re: @Tim

"Must make salary negotiations very hard."

Not at all. I pay my staff the best that I'm able. Everyone is aware of the finances of the company and we're all open about our needs. We discuss each individual's financial goals (such as paying off student loans, saving for a house, etc) and readjust our salary every year to take into account whatever profit growth we've made as a company. The staff get the bulk of the profits, I do not receive an increase higher than the lowest of them.

"Very glad you're not a doctor."

There is a difference between triage (or command decisions) and writing off people for convenience, sir. And you fucking know that.

"PS Thousands have died to make your life a bit easier. Getting frothy mouthed about it won't change the fact."

Bullshit. Working hard to alleviate the suffering of my fellow sapient beings is part of being human. Compassion, motherfucker, heard of it?

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@skelband

The question is not remotely meaningless and facile. It is a legitimate and very concrete question that anyone proposing to reshape a society must face. It is part of making the command decisions that all leaders of man are required to make.

Example: we have the technology to end all traffic accidents within our lifetime. All autonomous, human-driven cars could be eliminated; replaced by Googlecar-robotic minicabs or a complex virtual-rail system (strips of tracking material down each road, driven by robots festooned with sensors that avoid hitting babies, cats, etc.) No country in the world is moving towards building such infrastructure and banning personal vehicles, despite the multitudes this would save every year.

Why?

Simply put: it's too expensive. The cost is not simply money, but an aspect of personal freedom. You could not simply get in your car and drive somewhere. To enable freedom at that scale, every single lane on every single road and highway across the country would have to be retrofitted. So we could spend a staggering amount of money and some freedom to accomplish this goal, or we could spend an incomprehensible amount of money.

The point is that we choose to do neither. Our leaders - and by extension we, the people - accept the deaths everyone killed in a motor vehicle accident because the cost - money and freedom - are beyond what we are willing to pay. Those lives have a fixed value and saving them is just too expensive.

Oddly enough, I'm okay with that. That's a decision that we make as a nation about our own lives. We are saying "we accept this risk upon ourselves and our children and our loved ones in exchange for not expending our resources on that particular safety net." We all accept the risks, we all reap some part of the rewards for not spending those resources.

That is fundamentally different from "blood minerals" because here we are simply writing off people who have no say whatsoever in the process. We are faced with a very tangible, very real choice: how much are we as a society willing to pay to stop rape, torture, murder and maiming of other sapient beings in another society?

Our choice is simple: Is $32 /device too much to ask us to pay to put an end to that? Gather up the number of people murdered, raped, tortured and maimed and do the fucking maths.

When you say "no, that's too much to pay in order to stop this shit from happening" then you have discovered your personal threshold for the value of a human life. You are unwilling to pay $X / shiny gizmo to prevent the suffering of X people thus you value each life at ($X * number of devices shipped into your nation) / individuals involved.

This is completely different maths from a society accepting risks collectively (as in the balance between freedom and security), a doctor performing triage or a military commander making a command decision. This is us, with the power in our hands to stop the suffering of people who do not posses the power to stop it on their own.

Anyone who cannot understand the above is a sociopath. Pure and simple.

The only relevant question is "how much is too much for us to pay?"

Everything else involving this discussion becomes a two-step process:

1) Get the cost of action below the "how much is too much" line so that we can take initial action.

2) Continue to grind the cost of action as low as possible so as to weed out inefficiency.

For the truly hard-boiled sociopaths who give no fucks whatsoever, the "how much is too much" amount will be zero, or damned close too.

Indeed, there exists a category of disconnected number-nerd types who will seize upon the fact that taking action now might not be the most efficient possible action, cost-wise, and thus naysay and holler.

They might support action if that action could be "proven" to be the most efficient possible action to take, cost-wise. Of course, since that is proving a negative, it's possible for them to constantly demand action never be taken because it is impossible to be sure that we are being absolutely efficient, that not one penny of waste exists in the solution.

I have nothing but the utmost loathing and lack of respect for such individuals.

1) Determine "how much is too much" to pay to end the suffering of other sapient beings.

2) Get the cost of action below the "how much is too much" line so that we can take initial action.

3) Continue to grind the cost of action as low as possible so as to weed out inefficiency.

Any other path of action is quite simply saying "the possibility of cost inefficiency exists, which may make me pay more than the absolute minimum possible to resolve the problem. Thus we should not solve the problem."

Adding "until we have agreed upon what the most efficient possible means is and agreed to use that means" doesn't make you any less a goddamned monster than if you hadn't added it.

I'm all for efficiency. But we can work to make a process more efficient after we've implemented a more inefficient version of the same process. When the lives of sapient beings (especially those who have no say in the risk/reward balance whatsoever) are at stake, you work with what you have and then continue putting in effort to make it the process you have better and more efficient.

These are lives we're talking about. Not delaying some purchase agreement so we can grind an extra $0.10 per unit off the vendor.

Anyone who cannot get the difference really, truly is a sociopath...and I am completely unable to respect them at all. You can the lot of you call me whatever names you want, but on this I promise you you will never change my mind.

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Re: @Tim

"By the way, just out of curiosity, what's the value of your life? How much is an equitable amount to ask society to protect it from exploitation, harm and an untimely end?"

The British Government currently values it at £2 and a bit million. Because that's the amount they're willing to spend on, say, preventing a death by increasing the safety measures on the railways.

Of course, the NHS values it rather more lowly. The maximum they'll spend on a treatment to keep me alive for a year, if I were to be struck down by some horrible illness, is £30 k for the drugs. Get a disease that costs more than that and NICE tells us we're shit out of luck.

The bit that you seem to be missing is that our entire society is permeated with these calculations of how much a life is worth. Has to be as well, for without such a calculation we've no idea at all about how to allocate resources. Spend £20 million on saving the darlin' babby from some cancer? Or do 5,000 hip transplants? Which produces greater utility from our scarce resources?

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Re: @Tim

$4 billion minus $10m is $3.9 billion?

I'd like to see your accounts

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Re: @Tim @Tim Worstal

Every article of yours I read manages to put my back up, either by sounding indifferent to the suffering of others or seemingly presenting one side of an argument. And avoiding difficult questions. Or maybe it's just me.

> Great, you do so. Others might not share your views [that one should pay an extra $32 per phone] so why should they have to pay the price premium you are willing to pay?

Yep, there's that indifference again.

Let's try to address that differently. Granted that's an individual choice of whether to care or not just because someone's existence is out of their immediate sphere of detection but is there any harm in trying to move, be it so slightly, the bell curve of decency just a touch to the better? If you say otherwise, may I ask, isn't your article an equal attempt to do the same but for the status quo?

Out of interest, would you pay the extra?

Also out of interest, "electronics industry does have a scheme that does exactly this" would you care to cite? I believe you have mentioned it before but a ref is handy.

As for not answering questions, the first in the forum asks for a ref to the 100,000 suppliers, you didn't reply.

As for presenting one side to an argument, here's your article's tagline: "How much should an ethical phone cost? An extra penny? Or $4bn". The comparison is, if you accept your figures at face value which these days I don't, is that the the nominal extra penny was per phone but the mooted $4B is overall cost, so the comparison is meaningless. But emotive, can't deny that.

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Re: @Tim @Tim Worstal

The 100,000 comes from the Hyperios guy mentioned in the piece.

"but is there any harm in trying to move, be it so slightly, the bell curve of decency just a touch to the better?"

Yup, great. With two provisos.

1) Needs to be voluntary. You might be willing to spend $32 on this. Many others would not be. Like, for example, that poor woman in Tanzania who is using a $10 feature phone. So, it must indeed be voluntary.

2) It must be efficient. It must solve the problem at the least expenditure of resources possible. Because if we use resources efficiently then we still have resources left over to try and solve other problems at the same time.

Industry initiative is here:

http://www.eicc.info/extractives.shtml

As I propose, concentrating upon the smelters, not all 6,000 listed US companies.

And the reason to use the penny per phone as against the $4 billion? Because it was the penny per phone that was used to sell the idea to us. That's what the Enough Project was saying three and four years back. We can solve this conflict minerals problem for that sum.

Now that it's actually law how much does the SEC tell us it is costing? $4 billion. That's why the two figures are contrasted with each other. One was the number used to sell us the program. The other is the real cost.

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Re: @Tim @Tim Worstal

> 1) Needs to be voluntary. You might be willing to spend $32 on this. Many others would not be. Like, for example, that poor woman in Tanzania who is using a $10 feature phone. So, it must indeed be voluntary

Agreed, it would be unfair to ask such a poor lady to pay extra. You have a good point. How about a westerner who happens to be a scandium dealer? Would it be fair to ask such a person to pay extra? Forsooth, that very question was asked but not answered, I notice.

> 2) It must be efficient.

Easiest way of efficiently solving this problem is letting the war go on, letting people die, be raped, mutilated, enslaved, etc. A human life is as cheap as you want it to be, Tim. It *must indeed* be voluntary or it interferes with trade.

> One was the number used to sell us the program. The other is the real cost.

Not in comparable bloody units it isn't. Either, together, a) overall or b) per unit, the cost, please????? Pref with references to back up your figures. Thank you.

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Stop

Almost all natural resources are the spoils and funding sources of conflict. Look at just tea, salt, coffee, chocolate, potatoes, just about everything we use we won in conflict then used the profits from the sale of those things to pay for more conflict.

Without getting into the insanely fucked up ethical dilemma of prohibiting a country from using its own natural resources, none of this shit matters; it's all a politico-marketing exercise. This entire thing targets products used by the expendable income consumer segments, it isn't designed to stop anything, it's designed to squeeze some more money out of the consumer.

Bunch of whinging know-nothing's have gotten involved and chosen the easiest target because they know they can guilt the money out of everyone. It's the paedo argument.

None of this will make a dent in the overall level of Human suffering at the hands of greedy people. A few organizations are going to dress up in expensive suits and harass manufacturers and politicians to give them money through legislation and all the while they'll be sipping coffee with a hint of chocolate after their breakfast banana and pounding out bravely worded emails on a variety of technologies. All this will continue unabated and never once will they stop to think about the massive exploitation that brought them all those things.

I'm all for good causes, and donate large sums to causes that make a difference and help people. But shit like this just pisses me off. It's like forcing your neighbor to install high-efficiency toilets while you've got 200 sprinklers going four hours a day in your yard. It's completely pointless.

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Are these the same Dodd Frank regulations from a while ago that were US (non-international) regulations, using certification paperwork based on existing schema that was presented a long time ago as a framework to the SEC, that were non-comprehensive and optional and could be adhered to a posteriori, or have they changed a lot ?

It's not that I disagree with the more centralised checking - far from it, I think it's an excellent idea - but at least one of the previous articles you linked to contained more than a little FUD and i've not looked at the regulatory documents since that time so haven't seen what's the current state of play.

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Doomed to fail

Unless there's a measurable difference in the isotopic makeup of Australian and African Tantalum, this is doomed to fail for lack of verifiability. Put bluntly, we'll just create a financial incentive for smugglers and corrupt miners. We'll be paying more. The horrible slave economy in Africa will be getting much the same for much the same. The new intermediaries will be pocketing the difference.

A better answer would be to make Tantalum obsolete. It's used for capacitors, isn't it? Can't we work out how to make Graphene capacitors (or something) with four billion dollars spent on research?

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Re: Doomed to fail

No, no isotopic difference in the Ta. But the various ores all have very different trace elements in them. You can tell where an ore is from by reference to the database of those trace elements (which has been prepared by BGR, the German geological survey. Nice bunch of blokes, have been very helpful to me).

So, given that all 11 of the plants that can process tantalite will be testing their ores (because you pay for the ore on the percentage of Ta contained, meaning that obviously you've got to test it to make sure of that percentage) all we need to do is check that testing against the database......

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Re: Doomed to fail

all we need to do is check that testing against the database......

Sounds nice in theory, but we live in a world where even industries as cost-insensitive as the US military still get sold fake or remanufactured chips from supposedly trustworthy and inspected suppliers, because somewhere along the way there's someone who fakes the documentation. Maybe those 11 plants will correctly label their ores, but who's to know if some middleman doesn't cook the figures? And, of course, how long will it take a black-market, illegal, polluting,12th supplier to appear operating inside one of the conflict zones, shipping their product out through a corrupt middleman who relabels it as good? FFS we can't even keep horsemeat out of our lasagna.

Creating a system that relies on testing only 11 suppliers means that there are only 11 systems that the crooks have to break into. Testing 100,000 makes it a lot harder, and of course that will cost money.

What's the alternative? Invade the conflict zone and confiscate the mines?

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Re: Doomed to fail

"And, of course, how long will it take a black-market, illegal, polluting,12th supplier to appear operating inside one of the conflict zones, shipping their product out through a corrupt middleman who relabels it as good?"

Most unlikely to happen with tantalum. It will happen, is happening, with gold. For there are tens of thousands of places around the world where you can turn up with some gold and get paid cash for it. Refining tantalite is a little bit more difficult. You need tanker loads of HF for example. The sort of thing that will immediately kill anyone trying to do anything in a low tech manner.

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Could you please drop the swearing?

I know it is a topic well worth swearing about, but I would like to be able to send the article to my mother, and other people of a delicate temperament, who will be put off by swearing.

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Re: Could you please drop the swearing?

You won't find any worse language on this site than you find in everyday conversation among adults. I fully expect your mother to be mature enough to either skim over the 'bad words' or simply take them in stride like she has done every day of her adult life. It's ridiculous that everyone should alter their vocabulary to suit the desires of a person who we don't even know is offended...

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Re: Could you please drop the swearing?

So you know my mother better than I do now?

I am just not going to send my mother an article which uses the F-word. It not only is coarse and unnecessary, it looks unprofessional and unserious, and detracts from the message.

She will have to remain uninformed about this important issue, which is a shame.

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Re: Could you please drop the swearing?

One downvoter thinks either that the F-word is professional and serious, or that they know my mother better than I do.

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Unhappy

Err, if a supplier is certified "conflict free" does that not cover for *all* customers?

IE 100 000 suppliers 1 time cost versus 600 x 100 000?

I suppose this is the solution of using "free markets" to influence social matters.

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Companies should simply ignore the law

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/23/the-case-for-corporate-civil-disobedience/

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Re: Companies should simply ignore the law

Companies do all the the time - and when called to account, simply dissolve themselves.

Hence Superfund sites such as Love Canal.

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Childcatcher

The Reason Why...

The ability to track and trace ore to complete manufacture (Phone Chip etc...) is a simple one. Especially as the manufactures have these capabilities already in place. Imposing them on their suppliers is relatively simple task should they chose to do so. The added cost to mobile phone or chip or whatever is immaterial. The lives saved would be immense, let’s see if the manufactures have any humanity left or has profit and share holder dividend taken over..?

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Roo
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Re: The Reason Why...

"The lives saved would be immense"

How is removing a source of income from the local population going to save lives exactly ? I really don't see how a gang of thugs are going to suddenly reform themselves as a result of removing a source of income from the area. It'll just increase the competition for scarcer resources - which in turn will mean even more little people snuffing it.

For the hard of understanding: The folks doing the shooting, raping and maiming can do it with or without gold/diamonds/ore/slaves, and they can get away with it because there is nothing to protect the little people.

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Missing the point.

I think too many people have missed the basic point of this article, and the author isn't doing them selves any favours.

The core if the article is not that an extra 1cent, or $32 or whatever the current figure is, will save a life or prevent a rape, it is that the original cost of 1 cent has now grown to $32 and still will NOT save a single life or prevent a single rape.

The people who will benefit from your extra $32 per electronic device are the bureaucrat's who will have a safe job for the rest of their lives followed by a comfortable pension. It makes no difference to the people forced to work in these countries.

And to those of you who cliam that you can not put a cost value on a life but still support this idea, do you not reaslise that what you are saying is that you are prepared to pay $32 so you dont have to feel bad about the rape and murder required to make your phone?

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Re: Missing the point.

He doesn't say that this won't prevent rape/death/murder/beatings - what he is doing is calling on this organisation, who got their sums catastrophically wrong by several orders of magnitude, to explain themselves for making such a monumentally stupid decision which appears to have been based on ignorance.

This happens too often - emotive subjects are used by people to rip us off, strip us of our freedoms, and generally act in ways that DO NOT get their actual agendas acted up on (which might well be of good intention) Porn, surveillance, paedophiles, child-abuse - need I go on?

It ISN'T acceptable - problems such as this need to be solved in efficient manners, not stupid, unworkable, time-wasting pseudo-activities where the KPI is pissing money away. If someone told me I could end the suffering of a human being for £1000, I'd do it. If he came back a year later and said it'll actually cost £1,000,000 and take 120 years - then what is the point? I can't afford it and the person I was going to save will be long dead. Worse, in this situation, they have other industries already using the £1000 model, and have still chosen the £1,000,000 and 120 year option just because we said we'd do it and then they moved the goalposts.

This isn't about "spending a small amount of money to solve a well intentioned problem so we should do it regardless," it's about solving the problem properly, in the most effiicent and quick time possible. The old adage "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" is one which should act as a warning from history in this regard, because often acting in a wasteful, unstructured manner is often worse than inaction.

That said - I agree that in this case, inaction is unnacceptable, but when the answer is actually so simple, and the problems are just politically difficult in nature, then I categorically disagree with putting all efforts into the politically correct solution of unnecessary bureaucracy proposed - because it's madness, and worse for ALL involved. Even IF it works, it's still a Pyrrhic victory.

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