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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The label reads 'Designed in California, made in China'..
The allegations are that i-Pod, in farming out it's manufacturing contracts, has now involved itself in what amounts to, in Western standards, slave labour. The reports continue to say that workers, for the most part women, are paid some $54American a month, but half of that goes towards their housing and meals. They apparently live in dormatories of about a hundred beds or so, and get most likely more to eat than they would were they still in their local villages.
Still, by Western standards, it's a cheap way to make an expensive item.
No argument there.
However, what must be taken into account is, that while these workers are being paid a pittance, again by our standards, it's more than they would make if there were no jobs available, and it's also giving the Chinese the technology to copy this American product, and offering them the chance to eventually flood the market with cheap copies.
China has the second most flourishing economy in the world, right behind India. They have the largest population of any country, and will without a doubt, overtake the West in a matter of decades.
If Western companies continue to use the cheap labour they can, at this time, find in the East, they'll be signing their own death warrants, because being far from stupid, those in the East are taking notes. These lessons they're learning will prove to be invaluable when they begin to dominate the world financial markets.

Now, we were talking about torture.
This practice has a long and continuous history in certain areas of the world, in fact in any country towards the eastern end of the Mediterranian and beyond. In those societies, it's not torture, but a means to an end, a certain means of getting to the truth of an issue.
This in itself is suspect, but more on that later.
However, we in the West are far from being as pure as Caesars wife when it comes to the use of suspect methods of interogation. The CIA, and one would suspect the Homeland Security Department are equally as guilty of using methods which amount to torture to further their own ends. Many a reputation has been ruined by Western security agencies in the pursuit of 'the Truth', and it's not likely they're about to stop when they have the old chestnut of 'national security' to fall back on.
But, let's look at those we normally associate with physical torture.
The Africans, the Middle Eastern States, the old 'Communist' regeme, the Chinese and the Japanese have all been charged with physical abuse to entice a suspect to recant, and implicate all those others involved in whatever plot they're accused of themselves.
Ah. We neglected to mention the Germans, and their methods during the Second World War.
Now wait here. We could list all the countries now extant, and all those which were but have now disappeared, and the same claim could be made. Torture has always been one of the preferred methods of extracting information, and will always be such.
It's deplorable in this day and age, that we should revert to such barbarous practices, but then again, we are limited by our humanity, or lack of it.
As long as there are secrets, there will be those who will steal them. And as long as there are those willing to steal, there will be a sadist or two within the ranks of the wronged who will be happily recruited to stick the bamboo sticks under the fingernails of suspects, and set them alight.
As long as there are factions who have raised themselves to power using brute force, there will be those same feral folk who will deter opposition by dramatically killing or maiming those who would disagree.
It's human nature, and that's the most damning statement that can possibly be made about our species.
We could spend hours documenting incidences of torture, past and present. The point is, that we must spend generations breeding this predeliction out of those among us.
Generations, and even then, there will be sociopaths who enjoy to inflict pain for whatever reason. And there will almost certainly be a government or two who will employ them for their particular skills.
We can report, and report, and report again on human indignities perpetrated by whichever government one might choose, but until we've achieved some degree of mutual goal, on a global scale, there are always going to be those at the receiving end of a lash.
More to follow.

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