|By Geaugagrrl, |
via Wikimedia Commons
Mark Boyle says:
My culture made a Faustian pact, on my behalf, with those devilish tyrants Speed, Numbers, Homogeneity, Efficiency and Schedules, and now I’m telling the devil I want my soul back.
|Julia set by Solkoll|
|By Fairphone via Wikimedia Commons|
Almost all the smartphones available in Toronto come out of a global supply chain that gives the job to the lowest bidder at every stage. Buying on price alone inevitably rewards the unscrupulous. Suppliers who plunder workers can offer lower prices than those who pay a fair wage. Minerals come at less cost to those who buy governments, blast what they want out of the Earth, and leave the resulting mess to local communities.
The rewards of unethical behaviour have nothing to do with technology. They have not changed in the four centuries since the global supply chain prominently featured Black bodies, stolen from Africa to be abused as labour for the burgeoning colonies of the Americas. Then, as now, agriculture could be carried on justly, or with violence and exploitation. The answer to agricultural slavery in the eighteenth century was not magical but ethical: abolition. The answer to exploitative agricultural practices today is fair trade. And fair trade can work with the supply chain for technological products.
A smart phone today exists called the fair phone. The fair phone's makers have designed a modular product designed so users can expand its memory and other capacities, rather than discarding it every year or two and replacing it with the latest and greatest. If the company that makes and markets the fair phone fails, it will have been brought down by its less scrupulous competitors, by consumers indifferent to the environmental and human costs of their devices, and by the silence of those who should support an ethical supply chain, but have found an excuse not to educate themselves or to act in the anti-technology diatribes that pop up on the web from time to time.