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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/14571/your-cellphone-and-laptop-are-evil-says-story-of-stuff/

Your cellphone and laptop are evil, says Story of Stuff

November 9, 2010 by

Some years ago, I was watching and listening to a communist poetry/rap group in a public park and rather enjoying the spirited rhythmic presentation. Hundreds of people were enjoying it too. The message was goofy but harmless in some way, essentially a bunch of tuneful hectoring on how we need to come together and share and be one, etc. At some point, the lead singer said that the best path to utopia was a direct one. We should throw away our cell phones! Well, at that point, the crowds lost interest and drifted away. Communism was tolerable until it meant an end to technological progress.

For this reason, I sense that the phenom of StoryOfStuff.org might be overreaching with this one. Do we really want to return to the days of getting our video-tape players repaired rather than buying a DVD player or just subscribing to netfix? (For a critique of the general line of this effort, see Sterling Terrell).

{ 34 comments }

Jaques November 9, 2010 at 6:05 pm

It’s the communist fetish for primitive hunter & gatherer societies taken to its logical conclusion.

The_Orlonater November 10, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Exactly, where’s Matt Ridley when you need him?

Brad November 9, 2010 at 7:04 pm

The only thing I take issue with is the plug for more stringent regulations in the form of “take-back” laws. Aside from the tendency to cling to coercion to solve societal issues, which is a common tendency these days, the video seems fairly benign.

The point about non-standardized electronics chargers is spot on… the only people that benefit are the producers of charging cords, while the rest of us pay for the overwhelming waste.

And the fact that companies are able to externalize their costs is obviously a result of poorly defined property rights, which they obviously failed to mention, but their solution (to internalize the costs) could be interpreted as redefinition of property rights to protect consumers, foreign recyclers, etc.

I’m not exactly sure where the so-called “communist fetish for hunter and gatherer societies” comes into play. If someone could help me understand that comment I would appreciate it.

Daniel Coleman November 10, 2010 at 8:56 am

I think Jaques is referring not just to the video but to JT’s entire blogpost, which included an anecdote about communist rappers who think going primitive is the “direct route” to utopia. There was once a time — namely, with Marx — when communists were explicitly pro-material progress; they simply thought that communism was the best means for that end. Today they instead tend to fight against consumerism and expanding wealth.

Current November 10, 2010 at 9:21 am

> The point about non-standardized electronics chargers is spot on… the only people
> that benefit are the producers of charging cords, while the rest of us pay for the
> overwhelming waste.

Making standard chargers is much more complicated than you would think. Different devices have different voltage and current requirements and they have different tolerances that they can accept on the voltage and current outputs. Because of different power requirements some chargers must be much larger than others, see a charger for a Dell gaming laptop for example. With current technology we could never have generic chargers, only generic 10W, generic 45W chargers, generic 100W chargers and so on.

For computer power supplies there is a communications system that runs over the power cable that allows the computer to probe the capabilities of the power supply. Such a system would be needed for any generic plug in charger, but standardising it would not be simple.

Because of the large variety of requirements that a generic charger would have to cope with it would be more expensive than specific ones and consume more electricity too.

It may become more practical in the future though.

Greg November 10, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Chargers are difficult to standardize. Do you really think companies want to spend more money to include a charger with every device they sell? If there was a way to standardize, they could save a serious amount of money compared to their competitors. As it stands, including a charger with each device is the most efficient means of servicing customer needs. It’s only in government where inefficiency is rewarded.

Abhilash Nambiar November 9, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Anne Leonard is a sign that there are problems. Not a solution to any problem.

Carlos Castro November 9, 2010 at 8:40 pm

I find it sowewhat strange that she is complaining about technology by using of the same technology she is complaining about.

Russ the Apostate November 9, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Ah, but when leftists do that, they are “subverting” the system. When rightists or libertarians do the same, they are hypocrites.

Richie November 9, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Because the people that nod their heads in agreement with her are not intelligent enough to see the contradiction.

Fephisto November 10, 2010 at 10:59 am

To quote a videogame:

“Wha-but, you’re calling me up on a phone, to tell me not to use one!”

“We’re not the problem Lazlo, you are!”

“Just what is your organization called anyways?!”

“Citizens Raging Against Phones.”

“Your organization is called CRAP?”

RTB November 9, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Funny that I’m watching this via my laptop through my wireless router connected to my desktop pc. All of which I shopped for online. Lucky for the makers of this video that we have such things. I guess walking around handing out parchment pamphlets wouldn’t quite get the job done.

MB November 9, 2010 at 9:54 pm

FWIW, Lee Doran of “How the World Works” on Youtube has done video critiques of the various “Story of stuff” nonsense. Check it out.

Ohhh Henry November 9, 2010 at 11:29 pm

At some point, the lead singer said that the best path to utopia was a direct one. We should throw away our cell phones! Well, at that point, the crowds lost interest and drifted away.

Reminds me of the old joke about a man at the zoo. He amuses himself by making faces at the gorilla and watching the gorilla imitate them. But while making grimaces he pulls down one of his eyelids with his middle finger and this time instead of imitating him the gorilla scowls, reaches through the bars and beats him senseless. In the hospital the zookeeper asks the man what happened, then apologetically explains that the gesture that caused the beating is gorilla for “F_U”. Vowing to get revenge, the man returns to the zoo. He makes various faces, which the gorilla imitates. Then he pulls out a large knife and pretends to stab himself. He holds out the knife to the gorilla … who scowls at him and makes the gorilla sign “F_U”.

Enjoy Every Sandwich November 10, 2010 at 7:48 pm

LOL that brings back memories. That was always one of my Dad’s favorite jokes!

Colin Phillips November 10, 2010 at 2:15 am

I disagree with the video’s point that “this problem cannot be fixed by shopping alone.” To me, it seems that choosing one product over another is “putting your money where your mouth is” whereas making new laws that need to be enforced is putting taxpayers’ money where your mouth is, which doesn’t seem fair. If the only way to get greener tech really is through government regulation, I say it’s not worth it.

J. Murray November 10, 2010 at 7:05 am

When it comes to technology, a more powerful product requires it to be more efficient. My 6 core processor today is thousands of times more powerful than the most advanced processor from 10 years ago and uses less electricity to run. Improving technolgoy and improving the “green” aspect tend to go hand in hand. It’s about reducing the amount of waste to do the work, be it in heat, friction, light, or other non-work producing waste. It’s also about improving efficiency through reducing the complexity of moving parts, reducing the length of circuitry in boards and processors, which in turn reduce the amount of materials required to do the same thing.

When left alone, technology will go green all by itself.

jack November 10, 2010 at 8:47 am

Even blindly accepting her premise of the nefarious fat cats, the video wouldn’t be half bad if, instead of advocating for violence (regulations) towards the end, she talked about the importance of private property and how economic externalities are a government failure and not a market failure.

Hugo November 10, 2010 at 9:13 am

Its a shame she advocates government violence to solve the problem.

agdrummer November 10, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Why doesn’t laptop makers have an access door/entry to change the fuses in the computers? To try to gain access, is to destroy ones laptop.I wonder how many have been thrown away because of voltage drop resulting in blown fuse?

Current November 10, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Normally laptops don’t have fuses in them. They use other types of protection circuit. If you manage to blow the protection circuits they use by plugging them into the wrong power supply then you can’t fix them.

Jardinero1 November 10, 2010 at 1:47 pm

I get really tired of hearing the mantra of sustainability. I refuse to worry about sustainability. There is no sustainability. The world is finite, resources are finite; that’s why everything has a price. We all will die eventually and the sun will go nova. That will be the end of it all. In the meantime we can just keep organizing and re-organizing ourselves to make use of whatever resources are at hand.

Iain November 10, 2010 at 4:17 pm

I do think that Apple gives people a big finger with IPODS and IPHONES when you can’t replace the F***ing batteries.

J. Murray November 10, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Apple is an example of a technology company that comes into being in an IP world. Apple would never behave like that if it wasn’t for big government granting them a monopoly.

Jason November 10, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Alas, no one here talks about the “public’ waste management system that allows people to just throw any and all of there garbage away, rather than garbage being dealt with privately. Most of the waste she speaks of comes from this method because waste is handled in a centralized way rather than a decentralized way.

Iain November 10, 2010 at 5:29 pm

That’s an interesting point. What you’re saying is that private companies would specialize in different types of waste management right?

Anthony November 11, 2010 at 12:16 am

I assume he is also saying that people would have an incentive to reduce waste is they were paying the costs directly.

jason November 11, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Well, it is not a matter of “reducing” waste per say as it is pointing out an entrepreneurial opportunity. She is right, businesses do design products to be wasted a certain way, but she does not question why consumers demand products with the lifecycle she points out. If there was no public waste disposal, and was an open market with competition, then rather than considering coercion as the method for fixing this percieved “problem”, maybe she could start her own trash collecting business and landfill or something, perhaps picking up the trash for free and selling components or comodities, ect.

Rather than treating this as some kind of political problem perhaps see and opportunity! :D

C. Taylor Harris November 11, 2010 at 12:40 am

Well, like you posed some time ago, they want to destroy the fabric of civilization in the name of environmentalism and socialism. I would contend that the barbarians are not ‘at the gates’ as they say, instead they own the White House, and their chieftain George Soros is funding the madness.

jason November 11, 2010 at 3:34 pm

What is the sudden reference to George Soros????? I have noticed this since Glenn Beck has made it his calling to focus on George Soros. My Friend, there are many who are responsible for the environmental movement, not just Mr. Soros. Lets stop trying to point fingers and actually try to solve problems. Rather than getting caught up in the whole Koch vs. Soros fight, I say lets abolish the fed and most other gov programs. :) Who are you working for? Dare I ask and seem paranoid? Would not suprise me if the elites/gov had people making comments on this website to try to sway opinion. I hope any politico’s who read this sight become enlightened by doing so.

C. Taylor Harris November 11, 2010 at 1:12 am

Not to mention I don’t have time to worry about the environmental impact of my phone, because I’m too busy worrying about a monster buck crashing through my windshield or being attacked by a mountain lion – while checking traps at night – which have returned to Kansas due to the out of control dear population whose hunting is over regulated by the environmentalists at the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

mr taco November 11, 2010 at 3:15 am

there is 592 likes and 21 dislikes

wow that is a problem

laptops December 3, 2010 at 6:31 am

I just want to share this website with you people. It’s really very helpful in comparing prices and models of laptops mobiles and a lot more about electronics goods.

laptop December 4, 2010 at 5:32 am

Useful and interesting information about laptops.they are a good source of work and miracle of technology.

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