Read to the end for writing assumptions.

It's been a week. From the World Cup kicking off in human-rights-violations-are-cool-with-us Qatar to literal riots in Foxconn's "iPhone City" in China, you could say we're in a Dark Mode era for the world.

I am generally not a fan of football (or soccer as we weirdly call it in the US) though I can appreciate the skill and competitiveness of the game. But where does the game end and the wider view of the world begin? For all that is fun about soccer, it is difficult to ignore the fact that the stadiums were built with literal slave labor, women in the country have few rights, and the visiting press is very much not able to report freely.

Qatar is attempting to paint itself as a reformed country. The same can be said of China and Russia for their instances of hosting the Olympics. The way people are oppressed and treated is simply awful. And yet these countries continue to be rewarded with a moment in the spotlight on the global stage.

Pair the World Cup with workers in China who rioted for promised pay that Foxconn tried to short them and you can see that there is a need to view the world with a wider lens. Things are reaching a boiling point there with protesters holding up blank pieces of paper. Why blank paper? Because everyone knows what they want to say and not writing their message is an even more powerful sign of oppression.

UPDATE: After originally publishing this article, it looks like China is lifting their COVID restrictions which were the underpinnings of a lot of the protests.

In these instances of factory uprisings of course Apple gets the blame. Why shouldn't they? The factory is literally nicknamed after their flagship product. But, Apple is not even close to being the only company using exploited labor to have products manufactured. They have made public strides to try to do things the right way (Deciding if the policy is more for PR or a genuine desire for equal rights globally is a muddy pool of water) but getting stuff built for pennies is appealing to any CEO of any company.

Apple is taking action by diversifying the countries that will build its stuff. Will others follow? Will it make a difference or is it enough? Will workers still be exploited? That is tough to say.

There is a hard truth in this world, especially in first-world countries: people want stuff cheap and demand the lowest price possible. I once overheard a debate between two people arguing about landscapers hiring day laborers. This was so long ago, but one statement still stands out to me so many years later. One person was trying to prove the point that labor isn't cheap and customers don't want to pay for workers who are on the up and up.

"You want your grass cut for $20, right?"

How do you defend against something like that? You can't.

Fast Fashion embodies this too: You want a shirt for $5, right?

People demanding to only buy "Made in America" usually pause upon seeing the increased price of the finished good: You don't want to pay the cost of manufacturing in the US, right?

Global commerce can be a good thing and generally is an amazing feat of the past century. Goods we would otherwise never be exposed to are in abundance at the corner shop. Trade helps everyone. But in a race to the bottom and a miscalibration by consumers on what they "should" pay, we have exposed the dirty underside to achieve the end result.

Those in power need to do better. THAT is what everyone should demand. Always.


Here's today's Random Factoid: On average, the closest planet to Earth is Mercury. On average, the closest planet to Pluto is also Mercury. Source


Last Week's Results:
If you were asked questions by a panel of middle schoolers, would you be deemed cool or not cool?

In a split decision this time around, we are even on the cool / uncool poll. I never vote in my own poll, but I have been told more times than I can count by my own middle schoolers that I am not cool. I disagree with them, but their opinion is what matters this time around. In this case, I have the unfortunate deciding vote.

Today's Poll

Waffles or pancakes?

🧇 Waffles
🥞 Pancakes

The results will be revealed in the next newsletter.

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