[linux-elitists] Walmart $168.00 PC

Mister Bad mr.bad@pigdog.org
Mon Jun 14 12:57:31 PDT 2004


>>>>> "JSJA" == John S J Anderson <jacobs@genehack.org> writes:

    JSJA>   Just because you can't _stop_ it, doesn't mean that you
    JSJA> shouldn't try to _minimize_ it. Yes, electronics
    JSJA> manufacturing has a heavy environmental footprint. That's
    JSJA> completely orthogonal to the point at hand, which was
    JSJA> somebody buying a computer at Wal-Mart.

If it were just environmental, that'd be one thing. BUT it's terrible
in so many other ways.

   1) Balance of trade. Computer hardware jobs fled the US and Europe
      _years_ ago. Now they're fleeing parts of Asia to other
      developing countries. It's a global economy, but nobody in
      Indonesia is buying electronic equipment made in Milwaukee. The
      balance is really skewed.

   2) Labor standards. Most computer hardware, and especially
      microcomputer hardware, is made and assembled in countries with
      extremely low labor standards, and poor records of democracy to
      correct those problems. Union-made computer hardware is
      practically non-existent. (No matter how you feel about unions,
      their existence in a country _does_ show that laborers have some
      power to make decisions about their labor.)

   3) Respect for small towns and local economies. When big computer
      manufacturers _do_ set up shop in the US, they usually squeeze
      huge tax concessions -- or even grants! -- from local
      governments for the privilege of getting the headquarters
      there. Since they're usually business ops or research centers,
      they bring in people from out of town to work. The jobs they
      create are menial, rather than semi-skilled technical work.

I'd love to buy a socially-conscious PC, but they just aren't out
there. I think it's great that people can get $200 PCs from Walmart,
since they can then get on the Internet and organize to change this
cruddy system.

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