By now, most have heard about the woman in Oregon, who opened a box of Halloween decorations purchased from K-Mart to find a handwritten letter allegedly from a worker in one of these such camps. A plea for help and an end to what’s going on in a country that sends so many products overseas to you and I. The letter states, “Thousands people here who are under the persecution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever.” Folded into a small square and stuck into the Styrofoam packing, the woman does not doubt the authenticity. The works earn approximately ten yuan per month. For those of you who are not in the know on Chinese currency; a yuan is around $1.60. Actually, I’ve since been corrected by someone who is more in the know than I am regarding Chinese currency. A yuan is actually closer to .12 cents.
For decades, China has run such labour camps. Putting to work alleged troublemakers. What they deem troublemakers is up for debate; is it someone who speaks out against the system? Is is a petty thief? We don’t know, but a “troublemaker can be sentenced to as much as four years of labour in a work camp without having a formal arrest or a trial.
There are apparently laws governing the manufacture of goods from an import standpoint. Products made in a prison or a labour camp cannot be imported into the United States. It makes me wonder how many hands the products go through before they’re exported. Is it enough to remove the stink of the labour camp or remove the blood, sweat and tears of the workers? We’ve known for a long time that much of our imports come from China. When do we draw the line?
For her part, the woman says, “If I really don’t need it, I won’t buy it if it’s made in China”.
Sweat shops all over the world rise to fuel the greedy generations, on the broken backs of their labourers. The clothing and garment industry which in many cases can boast a profit margin of as much as 400% above cost! The electronics mass produced, just try and get warranty on defective products folks. You’re better off throwing things away now instead of fixing them. And let me tell you, corporations love that! Why? Because you are now hooked on the convenience of said product and now you have to buy a new one! All of a sudden, the corporations no longer have to worry about warranty costs of labour, costs of shipping and handling, customer service agents to handle warranty concerns. It’s all wrapped up in a handy, dandy 1 year no-holds-barred warranty. After that, it’s off to the landfill!
Sucks to be a consumer.
Am I angry, yes! Why?
Where do all the “throw-aways” go?
Stop and think a minute of where the rejected, the scratched, the dented, the damaged, the dated things go. Unfortunately, we’re such a consumer-driven society and little thought is given to the end result. We get our stuff and we’re happy for a while. But what happens is that it’s ending up in numerous massive landfills around our great nation. Electronics waste is piling up at a rate of more than 4% over all of our other landfill dumping. Even the good-will gestures of products dispatched to needy African areas are ending up in the landfills because these destinations do no have the support in place to properly handle, dismantle and recycle these electronics.
Does all of this stop us from getting that new phone or that new computer when some neat new technology comes out? NOPE. Brominated flame retardants leach from cracked components of electronics sent to landfill. Other toxic chemicals such as lead, cadmium and mercury also leach from e-waste. Great. All for the sake of technology and keeping up with the Jones’s.
So what it amounts to is that in this world where we’ve got throw-away people sweating and dying in labour camps for our greed, we’re slowly poisoning ourselves and this great land we live in.
Isn’t that just swell?