Re: China

Aaron, I understand what you were trying to say, but this is an issue that the Chinese Government AND the American Government need to come to grips with.

I have a little bit of history in the recycling of American computer equipment: when my father sold the last of his big IBM mainframe computers in the mid-1980s, we sold them for scrap value. They were hauled away in a trailer truck to a dismantler who paid us pennies on the dollar of the original price of the machines.

Now, that salvage work was done in the United States and was fairly “clean” because it turns out that 1970s and ’80s vintage IBM mainframes actually had a lot of good components left in them, as well as a LOT of copper, high-quality steel, and quite a bit of gold in the interconnects. They could, in other words, be salvaged in a way that wasn’t deleterious to the people doing it.

Modern computer equipment contains so little of value once it’s obsolete that only the poorest of the poor in the world can eke out a survival by doing what some people in China are doing. If it isn’t against the law, it’s certainly against any basic human decency. These people attacked the CBS reporters because what little money they get to live was being threatened by this coverage. It’s a classic response when they know they’ve got something shady going on.

Here’s how to stop this kind of thing, if you’re not CBS News:

When you throw computer equipment away, even if you take it to the local recycler: make sure you know where that equipment is going to be recycled and disposed of. Yeah, it’s going to cost a few bucks more to have it disposed of properly. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you they can dispose of it for free.

I’ll make a bet that CBS is on to something that isn’t just in China, in other words: there are probably a few dozen or hundred Americans somewhere who are profiting by shipping the junk to these people in China under the radar, so to speak, and not the folks you’d normally call Pillars of the Community, either here or in China.

Now back to your regularly scheduled RedHot.