Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 20th Jan 2016 00:21 UTC
In the News

Cobalt mined by child laborers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo may be entering the supply chains of major tech companies like Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft, as well as auto manufacturers like Volkswagen and Daimler AG, according to an investigation from Amnesty International and Afrewatch, a DRC-based non-government organization.

The report, released today, lays out how cobalt mined by children as young as seven is sold to a DRC-based subsidiary of Huayou Cobalt, a Chinese company. The subsidiary, Congo Dongfang Mining International (CDM), processes cobalt ore and sells it to companies in China and South Korea, where it is used to manufacture lithium-ion batteries for use in smartphones and electric cars. Amnesty contacted 16 multinational companies listed as customers of the battery makers, based on investor documents and public records. Most said they were unaware of any links to the companies cited in the report, while others, like Apple and Microsoft, said they were evaluating their supply chains. Amnesty says that none of the companies provided enough information to independently verify the origin of their cobalt supply.

This will remain a problem for a long time to come. Many of the rare resources we use every day are gathered in some of the most unstable and poorest places on earth.

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Comment by judgen
by judgen on Wed 20th Jan 2016 04:10 UTC
judgen
Member since:
2006-07-12

Child labour is a good thing, it is one of the steps that all countries went through to get out of poverty. Should children work? NO. But if the other option is to starve to death, i find child labour to much more preferabe. As i am not a monster, like most socialists that like to ban BEFORE considering the outcome.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by judgen
by Kochise on Wed 20th Jan 2016 08:20 UTC in reply to "Comment by judgen"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Hmmm, we're not in the dark ages anymore, some standards have evolved, there is no more justification for child labor considering these "poor" countries have wealth but located in banks, dictators and foreign companies.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by judgen
by judgen on Wed 20th Jan 2016 10:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by judgen"
judgen Member since:
2006-07-12

How does that solve the dilemma? Will you use force to take that money and give it to the parents?
If the only options on a personal level is to let your child work or let your child die, which one would you pick?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by judgen
by Kochise on Wed 20th Jan 2016 10:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by judgen"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Revolution to spread the money to the real workers ? Not give birth to more slaves ?

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by judgen
by darknexus on Wed 20th Jan 2016 13:09 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by judgen"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Revolution to spread the money to the real workers ? Not give birth to more slaves ?

That was not an option you were given, and realistically it's often not an option these people have.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by judgen
by Kochise on Wed 20th Jan 2016 15:10 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by judgen"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

So why are you prospecting into making children not working, if there's not even the liberty to do so ?

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by judgen
by darknexus on Wed 20th Jan 2016 15:35 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by judgen"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

So why are you prospecting into making children not working, if there's not even the liberty to do so ?

At no point did I say that. Read what I said a little more carefully, and realize that the two comments I responded two were saying two different things. Then get back to me.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by judgen
by Kochise on Wed 20th Jan 2016 16:12 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by judgen"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

No use, I'd just point that the main problem these countries faces are companies crushing down the prices to get insane margins for stock holders. Who's to blame then ? Children or Apple and cie ? Irresponsible consumers ?

Take the problem from the right end instead to twist things and dilute the causalities. Promoting child working like adults as being something positive is as insane as promoting them to have adult like sexuality.

Come on people...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by judgen
by darknexus on Wed 20th Jan 2016 13:08 UTC in reply to "Comment by judgen"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Should children work? NO

That is pure nonsense. A little work would do some good for a lot of today's modern youth, especially in the behavior and ethics department. Mind you I do not believe they should be worked to death, forced into dangerous jobs, or forced to do things they hate. But blanket statements implying that children should never work? I honestly think that if kids got to be a little less lazy at a younger age they'd be better off the rest of their lives. Even something as simple as paying them for doing jobs around, say, their schools or playgrounds--not large amounts, but enough for them to buy something small. It's the work ethic I'd want them to understand.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by judgen
by tylerdurden on Wed 20th Jan 2016 23:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by judgen"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

You took offense to that, but not to the justification of child labor? Wow.

In any case, the older generations always think the younger generations suck at being kids. And the newer generations always think the previous generations suck at being parents.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by judgen
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 21st Jan 2016 16:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by judgen"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

That's misunderstanding the issue. We're talking about child labor as it exists today in the rare earth mining industry and as it did in the west around the turn of the 20th century. Not small harmless jobs offering a kid a chance to learn the value of a buck.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by judgen
by darknexus on Thu 21st Jan 2016 18:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by judgen"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I wasn't making a comparison between them. I was simply responding to Judgen's statement that children should never work whatsoever.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by judgen
by CaptainN- on Wed 20th Jan 2016 17:00 UTC in reply to "Comment by judgen"
CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

It should be called child slavery.

Capitalism is defined by the relationship between employer and employee, and the ability - the liberty - to change your employer. Children are compelled to work by the threat of starvation, and probably other kinds of threats. Because they are children, they can't just choose another employer, or move to another town. It's not even feudalism, because they aren't working on their own meager wealth for half their time like a serf would. This form of a work arrangement is slavery, and it doesn't necessarily lead to capitalism. (Really, capitalism is defined by the constraints of feudalism - all that liberty it grants is really just the freedom to choose your employer, and move to a new town).

Without any of the basic rights granted by either feudalism or capitalism, the kids are slaves. It's child slavery.

And finally, I think we should be talking about what we do next, after capitalism, rather than justifying child slavery. Capitalism has been better for most people than feudalism, but that doesn't mean we can't do better. I suggest democratic enterprises (WSDE), as a next step in our global social evolution. Call it democratic socialism (as distinct from national socialism, which is scary), or democratic capitalism if you like. The point is, I'm sure we can do better than what we have now.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by judgen
by darknexus on Wed 20th Jan 2016 21:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by judgen"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

It should be called child slavery.

Yes, it should. It would make the issue far more explicit, and I'm all for straight talking.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by judgen
by mkone on Thu 21st Jan 2016 12:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by judgen"
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

I think most right thinking people would prefer that children not work. However what enables that in most countries is that their parents (and the state) have enough resources to make it unnecessary for them to work, so much so that we can legislate that children do not need to work, and basically that they should not work.

In countries where poor people are really poor (i.e. in absolute terms, and not just because they have to make do with mid-range Android phones rather than top of the range iPhones, and they can't afford to buy brand new cars, but can still buy reasonable second hand ones), then this is a really grey area. The choices aren't happy content children or children working in dangerous jobs with few rights, it is between hunger and death (and other forms of exploitation) or jobs where at least they can contribute to their own survival.

In an ideal world, then it is obvious children shouldn't be working, but in the real world as it is, rather than as we would like it to be, children may have to work to ensure their own survival.

While children working in mines is troubling, the alternatives can be worse (because they will work, they will just be fired from possibly better paying jobs).

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by judgen
by Kochise on Thu 21st Jan 2016 13:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by judgen"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Well, there is just absolutely no justification for children to work. Not even one :

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30875633

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/01/17/62-people-have-as-much-wealth-as-wor...

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/18/richest-62-billiona...

I have no words to say how things are so wrong in this ideal and moral driven world.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by judgen
by darknexus on Thu 21st Jan 2016 16:53 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by judgen"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Well, there is just absolutely no justification for children to work. Not even one :

You might want to go to some of these places and get some perspective before you start flinging absolutes. However, you have already proven you will not even attempt to understand what's really going on in these situations, so I doubt you'd bother.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by judgen
by mkone on Fri 22nd Jan 2016 17:07 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by judgen"
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

Well, there is just absolutely no justification for children to work. Not even one :

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30875633

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/01/17/62-people-have-as-much-wealth-as-wor...

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/18/richest-62-billiona...

I have no words to say how things are so wrong in this ideal and moral driven world.


This demonstrates a complete mis-understanding of the problem. I don't just mean intellectually. I mean understanding people's situation and empathizing.

If you really want to stop child labour, the solution is very simple. Build schools, and pay poor parents to send their children to school. Basically, if children are being paid a dollar a day in work, pay their parents a dollar for every day they are in school.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by judgen
by Kochise on Sat 23rd Jan 2016 10:44 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by judgen"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

I'll repeat myself : There's enough money all around the world, for everyone to get a good living. Sending children in the mines is not going to solve the problems, especially considering you're not the one sending YOUR kid down there.

Reply Score: 2

SteveNordquist Member since:
2007-05-04

NPR had a nice interview with the author concerning NGOs going out and gently getting into slaver camps to explain that multigenerational slavery isn't the only way to do it. Get the .MP3?

http://www.npr.org/books/titles/463700481/blood-and-earth-modern-sl...

What they don't explain is that while they may improve, self-flagellation (like churning out corporate responsibility statements) doesn't actually let up. Or maybe it's in there. Lots of range.

Reply Score: 1

Why promise shines up rutile.
by SteveNordquist on Mon 25th Jan 2016 05:41 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by judgen"
SteveNordquist Member since:
2007-05-04

Per the Kevin Bales: It's that the size of a defensible family farm can seem small and sustainability uneven, and that resident farmers will get approached with gifts of money and promises of education and so on for children on loan and their families, but that oversight falters.

Just get locally sensible water recycling houses that talk to people about their blockchain contracts...having built the design school first.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by judgen
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 21st Jan 2016 16:51 UTC in reply to "Comment by judgen"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

That's a false choice of course. The right thing to do is to:

1) Pay a living wage for all workers
2) Offer a safety net for those who can not find jobs to provide basic assistance.

You don't get to narrow down all options and then force us to choose the less evil of them. People with opposite opinions can do the same, and that moves the dialog nowhere.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by judgen
by darknexus on Thu 21st Jan 2016 18:26 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by judgen"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

That's a false choice of course. The right thing to do is to:

1) Pay a living wage for all workers
2) Offer a safety net for those who can not find jobs to provide basic assistance.

It's not a false choice. Your choices are not available to these people. Period. How about you actually speak to people who are from these places and drop your western perspective for a bit?
We do, in fact, get to narrow down your options in theoretical discussions because that is how you understand the choices available to others, not those available to you.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by judgen
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 21st Jan 2016 18:56 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by judgen"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Nope, still reject the premise that its the only options.

I don't want to give the impression that I know everything , so I'm omitting my biographical details. But lets just say I know something of what I talk about.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by judgen
by JLF65 on Thu 21st Jan 2016 19:50 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by judgen"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

No, you don't. We have child labor even in the US. We're "rich" enough that we can regulate it to some degree, like setting hours per week and a variety of jobs that are prohibited. In a country where they don't make even one month of salary here in the US in one whole year there, they don't have that luxury. EVERYONE in the family works, or they all starve. There is a choice on what they can do, but said choices are limited. Children don't have the skills for skilled craftman type jobs, so they have to take more low-tech/labor-intensive jobs, jobs like mining.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by judgen
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 22nd Jan 2016 14:32 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by judgen"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Sorry I can't disclose more, but I don't think it would help you all out of your crazy thoughts. So All I can say is "No, there are other choices". There are always other choices.

Reply Score: 2

Gullible Jones
Member since:
2006-05-23

And also, READ THE FUCKING ARTICLE. Seriously, sometimes I wonder what strange psychotropic substances the majority of people here are smoking. I mean, first GamerGate, now this...

Ben Radley, a researcher at the International Institute of Social Studies in the Hague, says any plan to eliminate child labor must address the economic factors that underpin it. "You can't stop children working if it is their only means to an education or they have no other alternative to sustain themselves and their families," Radley said in an email, adding: "If we are serious about stopping child labor in the mines, the incentives for them to do so must be there. Otherwise, they will soon return.

Yes this is an economic problem, yes it is nontrivial to solve, yes there has to be more going on than just keeping the supply chains "clean." And no it is not okay to exploit children. Just because you can't pin the blame on specific human perpetrators, doesn't mean the situation is desirable or ethically acceptable or otherwise a nonissue.

You want to argue about different ways to solve it, fine, I'm cool with that. But do not, do not argue that this is not really a problem.

You might as well argue that pimping is okay because prostitution is the only way some people can make money. That pimping homeless kids is okay, as long as it keeps them from starving or freezing to death. That murdering an old pawnbroker and stealing her money is okay, if it makes life easier for a bunch of other people. Do you understand what I'm getting at here? How deep down the rationalization rabbit hole do you guys want to go?

Reply Score: 2