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posted by janrinok on Monday June 07, @06:38PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Electric Car Batteries Are Turning This Country Into an Actual Hellscape:

As the demand for gadgets and electric cars grows, so too are the mining operations that dig up cobalt to use in lithium-ion batteries.

And that's become a serious problem for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, The New Yorker reports, which sits atop about 3.4 million metric tons of the stuff — half of the entire planet's supply. A massive, gold rush-like mining industry was born after residents in poverty-stricken areas discovered ore deposits under their homes. But now, many are finding that digging up the valuable mineral has failed to lift them out of poverty. And meanwhile, dangerous conditions are killing miners as exposure to the metal is poisoning both people and the environment.

A lack of regulations and enforcement over the mines has resulted in the miners, who risk their health and safety for financial security, being exploited by officials and traders who are unscrupulously lining their own pockets, according to The New Yorker. One miner told the publication that he now struggles to pay his $25 monthly rent even as the value of cobalt continues to soar — and the only alternative was to work at a major corporation's mine for considerably less money.

Meanwhile, thousands of children have been put to work as well, according to The New Yorker, some of whom say they can't remember the last time they could afford a meal. In order to keep them working, the kids are often even drugged with appetite suppressors.


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  • (Score: 4, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @07:07PM (13 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @07:07PM (#1142852)

    The best solution is for the USA to invade and bring them Freedom[tm], ensuring a steady supply of this important natural resource.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Monday June 07, @08:11PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 07, @08:11PM (#1142881) Journal

      Wouldn't it be safer, possibly more effective, to air drop them some copies of the constitution?

      --
      A Digital stupidity meter can't get pegged like a mechanical meter always does.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Monday June 07, @08:45PM (11 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday June 07, @08:45PM (#1142896)

      Yeah, because we're so much better [theguardian.com].

      --
      My karma ran over your dogma.
      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday June 08, @02:35PM (10 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 08, @02:35PM (#1143137) Journal
        Indeed. I get you're trying to be sarcastic, but that is indeed true.

        Notice the worst example you could come up with was just minor economic issues in some remote North Dakota town (boomtown phenomena like expensive prices and hard time finding people to do work and nebulous accusations of "sex trafficking").

        While the "hellscape" of DRC is an exaggeration (after all, all those cobalt mines and their surrounding areas are still just small parts of the country, much like Williston is a smart part of the US), it remains that the US collectively is much better than the Congo is collectively. There's something wrong with the narrative.
        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday June 08, @04:10PM (9 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday June 08, @04:10PM (#1143179)

          nebulous accusations of "sex trafficking"

          Not so nebulous if you are facing a 6x "normal" homicide rate [wikipedia.org].

          --
          My karma ran over your dogma.
          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday June 08, @05:02PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 08, @05:02PM (#1143200) Journal
            Sorry, it just got more nebulous. Now, you're citing vague nation-level statistics. So what does this have to do with the "hellscape" of the Congo?
          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday June 08, @05:05PM (7 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 08, @05:05PM (#1143203) Journal
            To elaborate on that, the 6x homicide rate is for Canada. You're not even bothering to cite data for the right country.
            • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday June 08, @06:17PM (6 children)

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday June 08, @06:17PM (#1143231)

              Wow, sure seems like a defensive nerve was struck there. Were your ancestors "too good" to be associated with the indigenous in carnal relations? Mine weren't, they just went ahead and married 'em in the church, but there was (and I imagine still is) that segment of society in deep denial that such unseemly things could ever happen in their family.

              As for stats 'n such, the most common noise on the subject lately openly acknowledges the lack of accurate data on the topic, the frequency with which Native Americans are listed as "other" on police and coroner's reports and other forms of under-reporting that affect the "official" stats on the topic in both the US and Canada, but especially the US.

              Williston, ND - 70 miles south of the Canadian border - indigenous issues there undoubtedly more similar to the Canadian indigenous situation than, say, the Miccosukee or Navajo.

              --
              My karma ran over your dogma.
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @07:55PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @07:55PM (#1143261)

                What does that have to do with levels in the Congo?

                Just to be clear, the Congo is the kind of african tribal jungle hellscape where outright massacres and genocides go underreported unless enough pale-skinned people happen to be around that people in cushy northern hemisphere places get bothered to care. An example that might tickle the ol' memory bone might be that the DRC is right up by a place called Rwanda, and a lot of the same tribal lands and activites cross over there.

                So, uh, the USA's that bad, huh? In the last fifty years or so? Do tell.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday June 08, @09:35PM (4 children)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 08, @09:35PM (#1143277) Journal

                Wow, sure seems like a defensive nerve was struck there.

                Because my "defensive nerves" are more important than the terrible shape of the Congo?

                Were your ancestors "too good" to be associated with the indigenous in carnal relations?

                Probably not. There doesn't seem to be any chiefs in my woodpile according to the family genealogists, but there's a lot of poor women about whom we only know their first names. They could belong to out-group ethnicities like Native Americans, Blacks, Jews, Germans, Scot-Irish, whatever.

                Williston, ND - 70 miles south of the Canadian border - indigenous issues there undoubtedly more similar to the Canadian indigenous situation than, say, the Miccosukee or Navajo.

                Why would that be? You have different country laws and systems for starters.

                • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday June 08, @11:32PM (3 children)

                  by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday June 08, @11:32PM (#1143316)

                  Why would that be? You have different country laws and systems for starters.

                  You just don't get out much, do you?

                  --
                  My karma ran over your dogma.
                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday June 09, @12:29AM (2 children)

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 09, @12:29AM (#1143339) Journal

                    You just don't get out much, do you?

                    You are quite the font of non sequiturs today. Why would me getting out more make even the slightest difference between US and Canada law and systems for dealing with native American tribes? Much less make that difference smaller than the difference between the circumstances of US tribes (which aren't that different, let us note)?

                    And notice how we've veered? I get that both your original post and the post you were replying to were both trying to be sarcastic. But the US doesn't have to do freedom perfectly to be better than a country that has suffered through serial tyrants, the worst war since the Second World War, and some of the worst poverty in the world. It's not a high bar.

                    I think there's a lot of toxic narratives spinning through this discussion. These poison dialogue by wasting time on stuff like Canadian treatment of native Americans.

                    My take on this is that there's little point to sanctimonious complaints about mining companies when people are starving on the streets. This is how the developed world became the developed world, though hard work and tremendous sacrifice. My take is that everyone will need to pass through this trial in order to become developed world - there are no short cuts.

                    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday June 09, @02:03AM (1 child)

                      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday June 09, @02:03AM (#1143388)

                      Why would me getting out more make even the slightest difference

                      We can start with an appreciation for the influence of physical proximity on culture and attitudes, something that national borders and legal systems are weaker than - at least for open borders where people cross easily.

                      the US doesn't have to do freedom perfectly to be better than a country that has suffered through...

                      One might say that the US screws our own people just as badly, perhaps worse, in mining towns than the DNC does theirs, considering how bad the rest of the DNC has it in non-mining towns.

                      wasting time on stuff like Canadian treatment of native Americans.

                      Not a waste of time if you're an abused native American.

                      there's little point to sanctimonious complaints about mining companies when people are starving on the streets.

                      Is this because there's no people starving on the streets of mining towns? Is this why my mother made me eat my peas because there are starving children in Africa? Seems you are the one in non-sequitor land now.

                      This is how the developed world became the developed world

                      In revisionist victor writes the history land, sure. Ask Queen Lili'uokalani how the developed world became the developed world, she's one of the few "from the other side" who has managed to get a bit of her perspective written and recorded for posterity.

                      hard work and tremendous sacrifice

                      On the part of those who don't participate in the after-party, most often.

                      My take is that everyone will need to pass through this trial in order to become developed world - there are no short cuts.

                      My take is that you have very little imagination and less than no creativity. There are many better paths to socio-economic development, whether or not those who hold the power in the world will let them be traveled is a much more pertinent question.

                      --
                      My karma ran over your dogma.
                      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday June 09, @04:24AM

                        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 09, @04:24AM (#1143424) Journal
                        Ok, before we start, is there some sort of medication you should be taking? Take that medicine first.

                        We can start with an appreciation for the influence of physical proximity on culture and attitudes, something that national borders and legal systems are weaker than - at least for open borders where people cross easily.

                        I assure you that a lot of Canada is further away from Williston than the Navaho are, such as most of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut (which contain most of Canada's native American population). Looking at the map, the Four Corners monument, which is in Navaho land is only 1100 miles away from Williston. You barely get to Nunavut with that.

                        And given that we're talking about issues like sex trafficking and boom towns that are directly influenced by national legal and economic systems, you're just wrong here.

                        One might say that the US screws our own people just as badly, perhaps worse, in mining towns than the DNC does theirs, considering how bad the rest of the DNC has it in non-mining towns.

                        Sorry, I don't judge the truth of something by your ability to say stupid things. One might say that the Moon Nazis mine Moon cheese, but that doesn't make it even slightly true.

                        wasting time on stuff like Canadian treatment of native Americans.

                        Not a waste of time if you're an abused native American.

                        Those Congolese aren't native Americans nor am I. So that leaves you. Are you an abused native American? Somehow I doubt it. Sounds like this is indeed a waste of time as a result.

                        there's little point to sanctimonious complaints about mining companies when people are starving on the streets.

                        Is this because there's no people starving on the streets of mining towns? Is this why my mother made me eat my peas because there are starving children in Africa? Seems you are the one in non-sequitor land now.

                        Why ask a question like that? Have I or anyone else claimed that mining towns were a perfect cure for hunger? Given your entire post to this point, you have pulled non sequitur after non sequitur.

                        This is how the developed world became the developed world

                        In revisionist victor writes the history land, sure. Ask Queen Lili'uokalani how the developed world became the developed world, she's one of the few "from the other side" who has managed to get a bit of her perspective written and recorded for posterity.

                        Yet another non sequitur comes forth. Sorry, oppressing Hawaii doesn't magically make the US a developed world country.

                        hard work and tremendous sacrifice

                        On the part of those who don't participate in the after-party, most often.

                        At some point, you have to accept that we're not going to share in the fruits of everything we help create, especially well after our deaths. It makes no sense as a result to stake a claim to that.

                        My take is that everyone will need to pass through this trial in order to become developed world - there are no short cuts.

                        My take is that you have very little imagination and less than no creativity. There are many better paths to socio-economic development, whether or not those who hold the power in the world will let them be traveled is a much more pertinent question.

                        Show us these better paths. And perhaps you can explain why you're waiting on approval from the powers that be, rather than just implementing these plans yourself?

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @07:28PM (13 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @07:28PM (#1142860)

    What makes 3rd world hellholes into 3rd world hellholes is corruption. What will be interesting will be finding out who owns those mining companies. It's a suckers bet they will mostly be rich foreigners, but are they Chinese, European, or American?

  • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @07:41PM (41 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @07:41PM (#1142870)

    It's probably all Whitey's fault their country is so underdeveloped and dysfunctional that they can't sell a resource without all this bullshit. The legacy of colonial oppression, i'm sure.

    If you weren't so damn dumb you could have invented the necessary industry, lithium batteries, etc, mined it and turned it into batteries yourself without evil Whitey exploiting you. Sucks to be you, i guess.

    I suppose this story is to guilt gullible western whites into allowing themselves to be robbed to send "relief" over there that will just be spent to enrich opportunistic parasites. All while their white kin are murdered by invasive niggers in south africa for daring to turn a barren landscape into a viable country.

    • (Score: 0, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @07:52PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @07:52PM (#1142872)

      Aww widdle wacist boopyboo is having a mweltdwown. Poor widdle depworabow!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @02:36PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @02:36PM (#1143139)

        Somehow I don't think that the GPP is having the meltdown here.

        Y'know, just going by the evidence on hand ... but I'm sure there will be a detailed, well-reasoned rebuttal explaining what I missed here.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @11:35PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @11:35PM (#1143317)

          "It's probably all Whitey's fault"

          ^ is a mental meltdown

          maybe breakdown would be more accurate? doesn't sound like they are emotionally flipping out which is more the image confured by meltdown

          either way, idiots get mocked, especially the ones that get mad about people pointing out their historic crimes and suggesting it might be a good idea to help people out

          fookin sociopathic douche nozzles

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @04:58PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @04:58PM (#1143588)

            "It's probably all Whitey's fault"

            just seems like sarcasm to me, based on the context of the post.

            Sarcasm != meltdown, mental or otherwise (but might induce it in readers)

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by DeathMonkey on Monday June 07, @08:11PM (33 children)

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Monday June 07, @08:11PM (#1142882) Journal

      The legacy of colonial oppression, i'm sure.

      Ya think! The DRC achieved independence from those colonialists in 1960! They were still making slave-rubber in 1908.

      So I guess it's right out of the salt mines and directly into the research labs!

      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @08:15PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @08:15PM (#1142884)

        Always projection and blame. Conservatives wanna be USA NUMBER ONE without acknowledging how the US got where it is. Entitled narcissistic bullshit in this case with a heaping dose of racism.

        Fuck the racist assholes around here. Deplorable losers.

      • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @08:17PM (18 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @08:17PM (#1142887)

        How long is sufficient time? From 1908 to 1960 was 52 years. From 1960 to today has been 61 years. At least two generations, perhaps three. How many generations will it take?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @08:30PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @08:30PM (#1142889)

          Don't know - how long can Germany send money?

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by DeathMonkey on Monday June 07, @08:34PM (16 children)

          by DeathMonkey (1380) on Monday June 07, @08:34PM (#1142893) Journal

          How long will it take for people with no education and no money and no infrastructure to invent new cutting edge technologies?

          It's gonna be a bit longer than 61 years....

          • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @10:24PM (11 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @10:24PM (#1142930)

            They never had a written language. That part of the world is PRIMITIVE. Don't expect them to ever "catch up" on their own.

            • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @10:51PM (10 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @10:51PM (#1142942)

              Citation needed. Are you referring to Congo specifically, or to Africa in general? Wikipedia is certainly not an authoritative source, but they list several African writing systems, including Lusona for Angola, Zambia, and parts of the Congo.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Writing_systems_of_Africa [wikipedia.org]

              • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @11:16PM (7 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @11:16PM (#1142949)

                I looked up Lusona. It is nothing more than pictures. It is not a writing system. As I said, very PRIMITIVE.

                • (Score: 2) by linuxrocks123 on Tuesday June 08, @12:13AM (6 children)

                  by linuxrocks123 (2557) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 08, @12:13AM (#1142970) Journal

                  The Kushites had a phonetic alphabet for Meroitic, you racist dumbass.

                  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @01:14AM (5 children)

                    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @01:14AM (#1142982)

                    We are talking about Congo and sub Saharan Africa in general. You are talking about a kingdom right next to Egypt which is barely in Africa. People like you always have to reach for Egypt to show any accomplishment in Africa.

                    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by linuxrocks123 on Tuesday June 08, @02:14AM (4 children)

                      by linuxrocks123 (2557) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 08, @02:14AM (#1142998) Journal

                      Nice try shifting the goalposts, but you lose, asshat. They bordered Egypt to the south, i.e., further down into the African continent than Egypt, and, unlike the Egyptians, were most definitely black racially. They weren't politically Egyptians, either; they were a rival kingdom.

                      Yes, they based their writing system on Egyptian hieroglyphs. So did whites. Egyptian hieroglyphs -> Proto-Sinaitic -> Phoenician -> Greek -> Roman. Didn't know that? Not surprised.

                      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @03:10AM (3 children)

                        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @03:10AM (#1143018)

                        Do you know geography? Africa is a big continent, and we are talking about the black heart of it: sub Saharan Africa. PRIMITIVE.

                        • (Score: 3, Informative) by linuxrocks123 on Tuesday June 08, @04:34AM (2 children)

                          by linuxrocks123 (2557) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 08, @04:34AM (#1143026) Journal

                          Sudan is considered sub-Saharan by the African Union, you perpetual dumbass.

                          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @12:12PM (1 child)

                            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @12:12PM (#1143100)

                            We are taking about the Congo and the region surrounding it. You keep avoiding the issue. The heart of Africa is primitive.

                            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @05:03PM

                              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @05:03PM (#1143202)

                              In your desperation for a feeling of superiority you cement your position as lowest nugget on the shitpole.

              • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Tuesday June 08, @02:33AM (1 child)

                by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday June 08, @02:33AM (#1143004) Homepage

                And all of the non-primitive (and not imported) sub-Saharan writing systems invented in modern times, mostly in the last century. What does that tell you??

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @04:34AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @04:34AM (#1143024)

                  It tells me that given the time, opportunity, and motivation, most people will try to improve their lot in life. Most of Africa still has a long way to go but those are steps in the right direction. That despite the current crapfest there is hope for their future. Then I look at what is happening here in the West and despair.

          • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @10:28PM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @10:28PM (#1142931)

            Hey, I wonder what China was like in 1960?

            Oh right, that was just the start of the cultural revolution, and they got to screw themselves with a heavy-duty piledriver. And yet China managed to dig itself out despite less abundant natural resources, and a positive wreck of what few institutions they had left.

            At some point the "colonialist history" story has an expiry date, and Congo is past that.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @04:52AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @04:52AM (#1143036)

              Ditto the middle east. What? What? We cut their 1000 year tribal boundaries into nice straight lines directly through the middle and they can't resolve it?! Fucking primitives. Look at civilized places like Europe - no wars AT ALL.

              • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday June 08, @01:40PM

                by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 08, @01:40PM (#1143116) Homepage Journal

                Look at civilized places like Europe - no wars AT ALL.

                Pick up a history book. Europe's history is endless warfare. No major wars in the last 75 years? Hitler kicked them all in the balls, and they haven't recovered enough to start another war. Not to mention a helluva lot of energy was expended in the Cold War. Then there is Ukraine, Kosovo, and Georgia.

                So, your idyllic Europe is only 3 generations removed from it's own endless tribal warfare, but you claim some sort of superiority over African tribals? We probably should send some nukes to Africa, pass them out based on population.

                --
                "Trust the science" -- Tony Fauci and his army of psycophants
          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday June 08, @09:41PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 08, @09:41PM (#1143279) Journal

            How long will it take for people with no education and no money and no infrastructure to invent new cutting edge technologies?

            It didn't take the US long to do that. You need a better narrative.

            All this whining ignores that we have a history of successful efforts to do these things, to turn almost undeveloped countries into modern powerhouses. It's time to look at what works.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Thexalon on Monday June 07, @09:01PM (5 children)

        by Thexalon (636) on Monday June 07, @09:01PM (#1142902)

        And it's also worth noting that in former colonies (and DRC is one of the worst cases - look up the history of Belgian rule if you don't believe me), if they start making too many moves to make their economy run locally rather than by foreign multinationals, it is extremely common for either their former colonial power or the USA to come in and make sure that doesn't happen. Many many coups and even protracted wars have come from these countries trying to gain control of their own natural resources. Even in countries that are relatively decolonized and have had fairly functional democracies, like South Africa and Venezuela, it's still a major issue, and the threat of a coup or civil war or foreign invasion by a vastly superior force is always present.

        About the one thing that protects countries in this position from continued foreign interference is nuclear weapons.

        --
        The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
        • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @10:41PM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @10:41PM (#1142936)

          Venezuela is hardly a poster-child for functional democracy any time in the last decade (and arguably longer). Nationalising their oil industry was the least of it. They were actually doing OK there until they started reneging on their service and consulting deals with the multinationals, at which point the multinationals pulled out, and Venezuela discovered that if they weren't going to actually pay for services received, they could do it themselves. Until they couldn't. Oops. That's not deliberate interference, that's what our friends in the soccer-playing world call an "own goal".

          As for South Africa, which functional democracy are you talking about? The pre-1994 whites-only (OK, with a few minority groups as a smokescreen) deal in which the National Party had a lock going back to when Smuts's South African Party took it in the shorts for playing ball with the allies in WWII? Or the post-1994 deal in which the ANC/Communist/Unionist alliance got a lock on power?

          And which multinationals pushed SA around? Most of them lost their leverage during the period of disinvestment, and got told to suck corrupt dick by the likes of Jacob Zuma. Nelson Mandela tried to get them interested in coming back, and mostly got told to pound sand, not because they hate darkies but because they (rightly, as it turned out) didn't like the kind of governance that was in the offing, in a country with a lost generation, a culture of (aside from a few minority groups) monumental inefficiency, massive instability and crumbling infrastructure.

          But sure, it's old colonial powers and their multinational exploitation lapdogs. Now tell us about the imperialist running-dogs and their petty bourgeoisie paper tigers, that's always a fun bedtime story.

          • (Score: 3, Informative) by FatPhil on Tuesday June 08, @11:35AM (2 children)

            No, it's deliberate interference. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_sanctions_during_the_Venezuelan_crisis#United_States
            Heck, you even attempted to put a puppet in power there.
            --
            I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @12:10PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @12:10PM (#1143099)

              Nobody can be blamed for Venezuela's situation but Venezuela. They are a classic petro-state. When the price of oil was high, they were riding high. When it went low, there were stirrings of revolution. The government doled out benefits (for example, free university), plus whatever else it subsidized, based on the gusher of money provided by oil which was a government monopoly. They never diversified their economy.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @02:49PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @02:49PM (#1143145)

              No idea who "you" is in this context, but I'm going to assume you mean the US State Department, or the CIA or somebody; the usual scapegoats.

              But if sanctions constitute deliberate interference, what exactly do you propose as available measures against misbehaving counterparties? To take the lead from Yes, Minister (great show, you should watch it) the usual options are:

              1) Ignore it (not historically smart)
              2) Issue a statement deploring their behaviour (Nobody cares)
              3) Lodge a formal protest (destined for the roundfile, possibly with some macho chest-beating thrown in)
              4) Cut off aid (doesn't work on burgeoning petro-states)
              5) Break off relations (Not helpful)
              6) Declare war (way nastier than sanctions)

              So what was your other idea?

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday June 08, @05:16PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 08, @05:16PM (#1143206) Journal

          Even in countries that are relatively decolonized and have had fairly functional democracies, like South Africa and Venezuela

          Sigh. Why in the world does Venezuela get all this positive mind share? They aren't such. And their policies and such should be a glaring warning sign to the rest of us that there's something deeply wrong with Venezuela rather than somehow a sign that somehow Venezuela hasn't gotten rid of all the colonialist cooties.

          if they start making too many moves to make their economy run locally rather than by foreign multinationals, it is extremely common for either their former colonial power or the USA to come in and make sure that doesn't happen.

          In other words, stealing from more powerful countries (what the euphemism "economy run locally rather than by foreign multinationals" means) has considerable blowback even when the other stole first.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Monday June 07, @09:38PM (1 child)

        by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Monday June 07, @09:38PM (#1142917)

        Lest anyone underestimate the gravity of the history,
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atrocities_in_the_Congo_Free_State [wikipedia.org]

      • (Score: 2) by driverless on Tuesday June 08, @09:29AM (4 children)

        by driverless (4770) on Tuesday June 08, @09:29AM (#1143072)

        Not only that, but the Congo was probably the most appallingly exploited by colonial powers country in Africa. The term "crimes against humanity" was originally invented to describe what Leopold II of Belgium, one of the biggest mass murderers of the 20th century, did there (that's not an exaggeration, it's just that he maimed, mutilated, and killed Africans rather than Europeans so virtually no-one has heard of him).

        It's not a surprise with that past they ended up a pretty messed-up country.

        • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday June 08, @11:37AM (3 children)

          > it's just that he maimed, mutilated, and killed Africans

          Not really. He got other Africans to maim, mutilate, and kill Africans, a completely different approach to maintaining control, way more hands off.
          --
          I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
          • (Score: 2) by driverless on Tuesday June 08, @11:53AM

            by driverless (4770) on Tuesday June 08, @11:53AM (#1143097)

            Well, it's a figure of speech, just like Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Tojo, and others never personally killed anyone when they were leaders. Had it gone to trial, Leopold would have been charged with crimes against humanity as the person responsible.

            Instead, the Belgians built monuments to him.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday June 08, @05:18PM (1 child)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 08, @05:18PM (#1143207) Journal

            way more hands off

            I saw [wikipedia.org] what you did there.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @01:19AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @01:19AM (#1142985)

      It's easy to fix - stop buying items that have lion batteries. If no alternatives exist then do without.

      We're all laughing at all of the silly holier-than-thou/do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do/oh-those-poor-people posts on here were sent on a smartphone or laptop THAT USE LION batteries...and the author had no clue.
      LOL

      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Tuesday June 08, @02:41AM (1 child)

        by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday June 08, @02:41AM (#1143007) Homepage

        And banging the drum for a wholesale switch to electric vehicles. What sort of batteries might those use, hmmm??

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @01:44PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @01:44PM (#1143117)

          Well - we could eliminate the batteries. Just get some small black kids from Africa, and throw them in the trunks of the cars to turn the hamster/gerbil wheel generators.

          Oh wait. Someone would call that slavery. Scratch that idea!

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bzipitidoo on Monday June 07, @08:50PM (11 children)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Monday June 07, @08:50PM (#1142897) Journal

    Mining can be done responsibly, and even, for less overall cost. It's long been a very dirty and bloody industry in which the operators make a huge mess then leave the public holding the bag.

    Part of the problem is that a long supply chain separates them from the public's ability to motivate them to be cleaner through boycotts. Boycotting Tesla is a lot easier than boycotting Tesla's suppliers.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Monday June 07, @09:08PM (9 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday June 07, @09:08PM (#1142904)

      Mining boom towns (and countries) are a blazing example of Capitalism gone wrong. As you say, every cost possible: humanitarian, environmental, economic, etc. gets externalized. Responsibility is shirked virtually 100%. The product is so profitable that the actual operators of the mines can't help but make ridiculous amounts of money - and they seem to usually manage a site to minimize time to total extraction above all else. After all, pesky questions of liability, responsibility for the mess they've made, etc. take a while to build up in the courts - if they can be "agile" and get in and get out of a jurisdiction before Erin Brokovich shows up, that's the goal.

      --
      My karma ran over your dogma.
      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday June 08, @09:47PM (8 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 08, @09:47PM (#1143282) Journal

        Mining boom towns (and countries) are a blazing example of Capitalism gone wrong.

        It's interesting how even the worst excesses of capitalism are beneficial. What other system can do as much good with a mining boom town?

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday June 08, @11:37PM (5 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday June 08, @11:37PM (#1143320)

          the worst excesses of capitalism are beneficial.

          The measure of this supposed "beneficial" depends on many factors, starting with: scope of analysis both in time and area, and perspective of the supposed beneficiaries.

          In both the narrowest scope, local to the extraction point just after extraction is complete, and the broadest scope encompassing global pollution - loss of biodiversity, etc. mining towns are clearly bad. Similarly: to the poor workers who get to go break their backs for a few years before they go back to being relatively free and poor, and to the future generations that get to live in the cess pool we are making for them, again the mining towns are clearly bad.

          If you're among the beneficiaries living it up in the middle of those groups, sure: it's a hell of a party, while it lasts.

          --
          My karma ran over your dogma.
          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday June 09, @01:20AM (4 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 09, @01:20AM (#1143370) Journal

            The measure of this supposed "beneficial" depends on many factors, starting with: scope of analysis both in time and area, and perspective of the supposed beneficiaries.

            Any point to this boilerplate? We can look at boom towns in other economic systems. For example, the USSR had them too. So did the Kingdom of Spain. Now, pick those "many factors", those "scopes of analysis", and those "perspectives". Who does better?

            In both the narrowest scope, local to the extraction point just after extraction is complete, and the broadest scope encompassing global pollution - loss of biodiversity, etc. mining towns are clearly bad. Similarly: to the poor workers who get to go break their backs for a few years before they go back to being relatively free and poor, and to the future generations that get to live in the cess pool we are making for them, again the mining towns are clearly bad.

            Nonsense. What global pollution? What cess pool? That and loss of biodiversity are local problems because mines are local phenomena. Similarly: for those poor workers, they get a better paying job and can save up for important things. There's something wrong with the narrative.

            • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday June 09, @02:07AM (3 children)

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday June 09, @02:07AM (#1143391)

              We can look at boom towns in other economic systems.

              Just because it has been done poorly multiple times in the past does not in any way prove, or even imply, that it is not possible to do it better in the future. Starting with: how about we don't make it a "boom town" that extracts all the resources in the shortest time possible and work on a more sustainable schedule with less damage to the environment and people involved?

              What global pollution?

              What round earth? How could the 2020 election not have been stolen? Good night.

              --
              My karma ran over your dogma.
              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday June 09, @04:35AM (2 children)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 09, @04:35AM (#1143426) Journal

                Starting with: how about we don't make it a "boom town" that extracts all the resources in the shortest time possible and work on a more sustainable schedule with less damage to the environment and people involved?

                What would the benefits of a more sustainable schedule be? I note several things that seem to be missing from your narrative. First, there's consider reduction in environmental harm from doing something quickly rather than over long periods of time. I think of mining a bit like pulling off a band aid. Pulling it off slowly can result in a long period of pain rather than a short period. You can far sooner revert land use back to something more wild. For example, doing boom mining rather than more sustainable mining means less land is needed to be under use as a mine at any given time.

                You also have time value of those resources. Resources now are significantly more valuable than resources in ten years and vastly more valuable than resources in a century. Finally, just like with land use, the faster you mine, the less people you actually need to do that work.

                What global pollution?

                What round earth? How could the 2020 election not have been stolen? Good night.

                Sorry, you being stupid is not an argument in favor of your position. Mining is notorious as a source of pollution, but as I already noted it is local pollution not global. You made this argument about scope and well, that's the scope.

                • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday June 09, @03:58PM (1 child)

                  by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday June 09, @03:58PM (#1143558)

                  First, there's consider reduction in environmental harm from doing something quickly rather than over long periods of time.

                  Really, how does that work? When you rush a job personally, do you make less mistakes or more? Spills, fires, broken equipment, all increase by rushing on a personal scale, and the effect is magnified in larger operations. When you hire someone quickly, do they do a better or worse job than when you take the time to find more ideal candidates? When you push your contractors 16 hours a day, 100+ hours a week, do they make less mistakes or more? When an extraction job takes the time to setup accidental discharge mitigation, drill with care for safe operation vs meeting a rush schedule, shutdown operations in marginal weather instead of pushing forward, do they do more environmental harm overall, or less?

                  I think of mining a bit like pulling off a band aid.

                  So you prefer strip mining? Slap-dash strip mining recently yielded some fun stories in Florida about a billions gallon retention pond filled with radioactive phosphate waste, about to break its holding walls because of "quick and dirty" practices in its management. The radioactivity isn't even the worst part, if all that phosphate dumps at once 100+ miles of coastline will be dealing with toxic algal bloom, dieoff of basically the entire foodchain up through sport and commercial fishes and sharks - anything not smart or capable enough to leave the area is going to die. This because the phosphate industry was in a hurry to do their mining and just slap up a holding pond "as efficiently as possible" from a dollar cost basis.

                  Mining phosphate more slowly, with some added costs in the care taken for restoration, would mean smaller open pits during the process, not larger ones. More expensive phosphate means more expensive food, horror of horrors, we're all starving because there's not enough food production! Not.

                  doing boom mining rather than more sustainable mining means less land is needed to be under use as a mine at any given time.

                  I think your "common sense" is faulty again. If Williston, ND had taken 20 years to extract their resources instead of 2, they could have run with basically 10% of the extraction capacity, less land under use at any given time, less boom in the town, less disruption of the steady state in all sectors from environmental, to social, to petroleum market.

                  I already noted it is local pollution not global.

                  Sorry, you being stupid is nothing that impresses me. Burning cheap fossil fuels is indeed poisoning the entire planet - even if you don't care about coral reefs, arctic ice habitats, melting glaciers, migratory animals that are dying out because their climate range is ceasing to exist... that's the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. If we slowed our roll on fossil fuel consumption to 10% of the current rates, that pollution would be far better managed by the ecosystems of the world.

                  --
                  My karma ran over your dogma.
                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday June 10, @04:36AM

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 10, @04:36AM (#1143804) Journal

                    Really, how does that work? When you rush a job personally, do you make less mistakes or more? Spills, fires, broken equipment, all increase by rushing on a personal scale, and the effect is magnified in larger operations. When you hire someone quickly, do they do a better or worse job than when you take the time to find more ideal candidates? When you push your contractors 16 hours a day, 100+ hours a week, do they make less mistakes or more? When an extraction job takes the time to setup accidental discharge mitigation, drill with care for safe operation vs meeting a rush schedule, shutdown operations in marginal weather instead of pushing forward, do they do more environmental harm overall, or less?

                    I already stated several ways that works. A big one missed here is that by taking longer, you have more time and opportunity to make those spills, fires, broken equipment, etc. And you aren't actually proposing a more cautious approach because you propose doing the same thing at the same speed with the same man-power, just spread over a lot more mines.

                    So you prefer strip mining? Slap-dash strip mining recently yielded some fun stories in Florida about a billions gallon retention pond filled with radioactive phosphate waste, about to break its holding walls because of "quick and dirty" practices in its management. The radioactivity isn't even the worst part, if all that phosphate dumps at once 100+ miles of coastline will be dealing with toxic algal bloom, dieoff of basically the entire foodchain up through sport and commercial fishes and sharks - anything not smart or capable enough to leave the area is going to die. This because the phosphate industry was in a hurry to do their mining and just slap up a holding pond "as efficiently as possible" from a dollar cost basis.

                    So we're going slap-dash strip mine over a longer time span. For example, those radioactive phosphate waste ponds are sitting around for a few decades instead of a few years. Plenty of time to explore the extremes of weather and other such failure inducing events.

                    Mining phosphate more slowly, with some added costs in the care taken for restoration, would mean smaller open pits during the process, not larger ones. More expensive phosphate means more expensive food, horror of horrors, we're all starving because there's not enough food production! Not.

                    Unless, of course, they bring the same attention to detail and quality of service that you bring to this argument. Then it'll be a shitshow, but a decades long shitshow. There's no point to doing something bad slower when you can do it well, faster.

                    I think your "common sense" is faulty again. If Williston, ND had taken 20 years to extract their resources instead of 2, they could have run with basically 10% of the extraction capacity, less land under use at any given time, less boom in the town, less disruption of the steady state in all sectors from environmental, to social, to petroleum market.

                    Then they will require 10 Willistons for every Williston we have now - 10 Willistons for 10 times as long. That's 100 times the impact. That's the math you can't evade. You can blather on about how they'll take more care and so on, but they can and do take just as much care today.

                    Sorry, you being stupid is nothing that impresses me. Burning cheap fossil fuels is indeed poisoning the entire planet - even if you don't care about coral reefs, arctic ice habitats, melting glaciers, migratory animals that are dying out because their climate range is ceasing to exist... that's the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. If we slowed our roll on fossil fuel consumption to 10% of the current rates, that pollution would be far better managed by the ecosystems of the world.

                    "Burning cheap fossil fuels" isn't what mines do. You're conflating mining with consumption by non-miners. First rule of holes applies here.

                    Second, we slow our "roll on fossil fuel consumption to 10% of the current rates", we'll kill a lot of people. Once again, the dynamic of poor people being high fertility people is ignored. And a lot of poor people are really hard on the ecosystems of the world. Maybe we should start by doing what works, like modern economies, and less of what doesn't work, like making more poor, ecosystem-destroying poor people.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @11:39PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @11:39PM (#1143322)

          Tell that to all the people dead from cancer, starving due to pollution, and the potential collapse of the entire ecosphere due to greenhouse gases. We are all hoping we'll figure out ways to avoid the worst outcomes, but you gotta be a real dumb fucking moron to type out you post. Such short sighted stupidity you have.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday June 09, @01:09AM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 09, @01:09AM (#1143364) Journal

            Tell that to all the people dead from cancer, starving due to pollution, and the potential collapse of the entire ecosphere due to greenhouse gases.

            Ok, I'll do that. After you tell the almost 8 billion people in the world today that you want to reverse what made their lives better because you have feels about cancer, pollution, and nebulous threats to the entire ecosphere.

            Such short sighted stupidity you have.

            Back at you on that.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @10:39PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @10:39PM (#1142935)

      It might be possible to mine responsibly, but it doesn't seem to be a popular option-- even in the first world.

      The US has a ton of former, but recently operational, mines in National Forest lands which were mainly owned by Canadian companies (and some Brazilian) that are all Superfund sites today.

      That activities in such opposition to conservation as mining/oil and gas drilling/livestock grazing is allowed in wildlife preserves is another issue. But, capitalists don't like the commons unless they can profit off of it.

  • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Monday June 07, @08:54PM (1 child)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Monday June 07, @08:54PM (#1142899)

    What kind of personal protective equipment (I learned a new industry term this year!), tools, and larger-scale protective controls/equipment do you need to meet bare/basic/good safety standards when mining cobalt and other battery components? Not counting cave-ins and mine-scale structure supports, that is.

    Seems like if more people knew about this and if the basics cost maybe $80 per person for a whole year, there might be better targeted outrage [youtu.be] and visibility on the mining companies that corporations do business with, as people trace things up the supply chain.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @11:53PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @11:53PM (#1142963)

      Yeah, fuck Apple for exploiting the Congolese... how many iPhone users are aware that slave laborers have their hands cut off if they don't produce enough cobalt?

  • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @01:19AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @01:19AM (#1142984)

    If the outside world doesn't buy goods from black Africa, then they are screwing poor Africa. If they DO buy goods from black Africa, then they are screwing Africa. Let's just admit that black Africa is hopeless.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @04:43AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @04:43AM (#1143031)

      Not hopeless. Not helpless either. Dysfunctional, certainly, and taken advantage of by the rest of the world, but there is still hope left for them.

    • (Score: 2) by r_a_trip on Tuesday June 08, @11:11AM

      by r_a_trip (5276) on Tuesday June 08, @11:11AM (#1143090)

      Isn't that the problem with all manner of well intentioned but ill informed laymen "solutions" to large scale world problems?

      Multinational exploits workers in country X. "Boycott Multinational now!" Multinational leaves country X to end backlash over exploitation. "Yay, X isn't exploited anymore!" Country X is now also one Multinational short of previously inflowing economic activity, which might have been barely enough, but at least it was there. Economic situation worsens and local people are left holding the bag over feel good, first world activism.

      Everyone wants the world to pay living wages, but no one wants to pick up the tab when buying stuff.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @03:07PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @03:07PM (#1143150)

      There are lots of other fun options for no-win situations.

      If $Rich_country allows immigrants from $African_shithole then they're obviously fostering a braindrain/capital flight/multinational exploitation. If they don't then they're obviously racist colonialists dooming Africa's best and brightest to a life of exploitation and isolation.

      Case in point: UK and Canada cheerfully importing lots of doctors, nurses and so on to prop up their own understaffed and misallocated public health schemes, thereby picking over places like Zimbabwe, South Africa, Pakistan and so on. The joke (if you can call it that) was that any briton could go to a british hospital to be operated on by a south african surgeon and attended by a zimbabwean nurse.

      Yay, Africa! So great even the africans are sick of it!

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