Your cellphone and laptop are evil, says Story of Stuff

A YouTube video argues against consumerism. How will consumers respond?

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    A woman smashes a cathode ray tube to remove the copper at the end of the funnel, at a dump in Guiyu, China, in this 2001 file photo. Environmental groups reported in 2002 that old US computers end up in a Third World dump, where poor workers scavenge for precious metals, thus exposing themselves and their surroundings to toxic hazards. A new YouTube video presents the material with clear language and simple animation. How will viewers respond?
    Jim Puckett / Basel Action Network / AP / File
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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).

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