A modest proposal: let's face reality

Purism should shut down and replace its website with a page telling people to look deep within themselves and find that, deep in their souls, they have always considered their local governments their gods.

Don’t believe me? Consider this. If people really didn’t want governments to be gods, they would fight like hell against the recent efforts to take away what little remains of their online privacy, such as the devastating anti-encryption laws that are currently being considered by the US and the EU. Privacy software such as Matrix, Signal, and Tor would warn users in every conceivable way, up to and including nag bars in actual apps. Banners would sprout all over the web, people would be protesting on the streets, much like they did in the fight against SOPA and the loss of Net Neutrality. But none of that is happening. Even conspiracy theorists are strangely silent…

(Alternatively, you can put up banners condemning these proposed laws. Just a thought.)

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As the internet and social media in particular have caused people to use various labels as a substitute for real group identity and friendship, politicians have scrambled to transform those labels into meaning “always votes for our party”. Basically every mainstream to semi mainstream news outlet is paid for by whatever party gets the most funding and they are paid to speak of that party’s opposing labels as if they were never and could never be acceptable things to be. Thus, now people spend far too much time thinking about what labels they want to se expelled from society.

Anything that makes life not harder for some group is thus considered support of that group. So condemning these bills will allow shortsighted people who just want a few more likes today to point at you and scream “THEY’RE PEDOPHILE SUPPORTERS!”

I don’t think that complaining about legelsation so will get anyone in trouble with their web hosts as long as it’s not law yet. However, I think that unlike SOPA, social media sites are actively suppressing discussion and spread of dissent against these bills, something they have all gotten much better at in the intervening years. That’s why you’re not hearing about it. Organic discussion on the internet doesn’t happen anymore, everything is manipulated, full of shills, suppressed, deleted, shadowbanned, slid, and in general, consists of more psyop than substance. And this could happen, because all discussion was moved to the internet and no longer takes place in real life, because real life is too inconvenient. Thus it became worth something to the investors of ad companies.
And to an extent people know this. It’s why so many have just given up.


Even so, the internet has devolved into one giant mob mentality. Social media has its uses, but so do nicotine and alcohol.


I am really worried for one other thing. That it is close to impossible to find/buy electronics not made in China.
For example when it comes to notebooks and smartphones there are really just a very small minority of products made outside of China.
Even companies like Purism or Fairphone which should be different produce in China.
And this is a thing that the people can change. Everybody can choose to not buy made in China electronics and demand brands like Apple, Lenovo, ect. to move out of China. But apparently consumers just don’t care enough before a catastrophy happens to be willing to pay the extra cost.
And as a catastrophy I mean for example war with China which could lead to the whole World ending up without electronics.
We can discuss how likely this is, but I can say that 2 weeks before the war in Ukraine I was convinced that there will be no war and that Putin/russia are not that stupid to do such thing. So one could argue that China is not that stupid. But what if? Then we would have a very serious problem.


Judging by the price difference between the librem USA and the L5, it may be that most people can’t pay the extra cost.

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Some have wanted the government to be their god since emperor Julian!


Or maybe we’ve all just become accustomed to purchasing electronic devices made with what is essentially (and sometimes exactly) slave labor. I think this is horrible, by the way.


I agree slave labour is horrible. But on what basis are you thinking, all labour in china is slave labour? For example, the swift phone company (from germany), claims their china-made phone is produced in good conditions. I also heard people who migrated from germany to china saying that there are many good factories, whatever that means. I’ve never been to china and do not know the truth.

What I do know is that germany worsended massively in the last years regarding freedom and people’s rights. Even the “constitution” got undermined, without many people taking notice. It is now possible, that an ordinary law can suspend basic rights of the constitution. This is one hellhole of a construct, and certainly anti-democratic. Think about a US government creating a law and your amendments are gone. That’s reality here now.


I don’t know for johnk, but my post was not at all about slave labour.
I believe that in China there is a growing middle class and there are places with good working conditions. Actually some companies move out of China because China becomes too expensive.
My point is about the World becoming enslaved by China due to a monstrous dependency when it comes to electronics. As of May 2022, if today China stops selling us electronics out of political reasons, the World will have a problem so huge that I can’t immagine it.
Why did russia allowed itself to start a war that is illegal according to the UN?
Because they were thinking that the World can’t do anything. Nobody would send peace keepers to a country with nuclear weapons like russia and China. And russia thought that the EU will not be able to not buy russian oil and gas (and the EU indeed still buys from russia).
Same is now with China, but on a much larger scale. In case China does something bad, currently we are so dependent, that we can’t react. We can only look from the side and continue sending them money.
We are giving China a free pass to not follow any international rules. And up until now I have no reasons to trust China that they will not abuse their power. Quite on the contrary, the current Chineese behaviour regarding the war in Ukraine shows us that we can expect problems in the future.

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If someone from outside comes and wants you to obey their rules - that’s not a good thing. That’s aggressive and invasive. A country is about sovereignty. The west participated in the creation of todays china by putting profit above everything else. The dependency is self-made and it will not go away.

Blaming China for being what it is is not the way to go in my opinion. I also disagree splitting the world into good and bad. China is not all bad, russia is not all bad, Europe is not all good and the US is not all good. And Ukraine certainly is not all good. In fact, already before the war, it has been one of the most corrupt countries in the world, only superceeded by some African countries. Of course, that does not justify throwing bombs. I do know ukrainians personally by the way. One wanted to leave the country long before the war, because it just sucked there. The other one loved the place and hates russians. Another one, a student I met 6 years ago, even had the feeling, the ukrainian east wasn’t really ukrainian, but some sort of mixed region. But maybe he was a russian in reality , spreading “disinformation” - I did not check his papers.

In short: same place, different perception. There is no universal truth. If you believe the media stories, you most certainly will believe in lies.

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I am not claiming that the situation on the electronics market is China’s fault and I am not claiming that there are all good and all bad countries.
I claim that there must be accountability for behaviour that is widely considered unacceptable.
Freedom and souvereignity is good, but they are not limitless. I am free to walk on the street but I am not free to kill a stranger on the street.
A country is just like that not free to cause an environmental catastrophy that could destroy the whole planet. I am very liberal, but I am also convinced that there must be rules and that rules are useless if they cannot be enforced.
In the case with China, out of greed and consumption craze, we caused a situation where we cannot enforce rules on China and I believe that this is bad.

Regarding Ukraine - I have lived in East Ukraine and know the situation very well. There are all kind of people there. Those who live great, those who live poor, those who wanted to emigrate, those who wanted to live there, those who were corrupt, those who made a lot for the society, those who were pro-Russian (you can use the ОПЗЖ results on the elections for clear reference where and who was pro-Russian) and those who speak russian, but call themselves Ukrainian and want to live in Ukraine under Ukrainuan government.
Regarding corruption - there was corruption pre 2014 (actually the house of the former president who fled to russia is now a museum of corruption and open for visitors). There is corruption after 2014. There is corruption in russia (for example the construction projects for the sport events that took place in russia).
There is corruption in Germany (the FFP2 face masks deals for example).

What matters is that we have a bad situation at the moment and it is better to learn from it and not let it repeat itself. China is interesthing not because it is the only problematic country, but because it has the highest impact.

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I agree with everything you wrote.

Theoretically, we could enforce rules on what is allowed to be sold in Europe. For example, you could only allow hardware which supplies open source firmware to be sold in europe. They are enforcing electric cars and the death of other propulsion technologies - which is much more difficult.

It is too direct confrontation to ban import from certain countries or to expose tarrifs. That is why it would be best if consumers do it on their own and decide wisely when they purchase a product. But apparently this will unfortunately not happen organically without legislation.
For sure first step would be to legaly enforce transparency. Let companies sell their products, but I want very clear transparency on where the product is made and sourced.
At the moment this is not the case. I live in Germany and there are piles of products everywhere with unclear origin.

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That article is from several years ago, but even a few years ago there were still issues with at least one of Apple’s supplier’s factories.

Obviously two articles quickly found on the Internet do not prove that all labor is China is essentially slave labor, but considering how not transparent China is, if even Apple is using factories with problematic conditions, how much more is this happening? And even common sense should tell you something is wrong when products manufactured in the West (where there are more strict labor laws) cost 200-500% more (e.g. I’m thinking of blue jean pants and shoes, which I’ve personally looked into and have begun purchasing from companies manufacturing in the USA).

Made in wherever is practically worthless, if you don’t take a look at the company.

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There was a bit on last Saturday’s “Saturday Night Live - Weekend Update” where Michael Che quipped about the discontined iPod Touch: “… because Apple products are obsolete when they’re older than the kids who make them.”

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Indeed, from a European point of view US labor laws are close to accepting slavery. Everything is relative, even declaring Chinese workers “slaves” where they themselves are happy and so much better off then there fathers before them. In my youth children 6 years and above worked on their fathers farm. Today that is qualified as “child labor”. Personally, I never had a problem by milking a view cows …

Wasn’t this thread supposed to be about making people aware that certain specific anti-privacy/dragnet surveillance bills are bad?
Can you guys knock it off with the “this country is better than that one stuff”? I know it’s hard when it sounds like a personal insult, but if people can’t focus nothing can get done.
Which is probably just how the people behind laws like that like it, really.

Fully agree. No need for exceptionalism.

We have already seen that the global electronics market won’t react if China does something evil inside its own borders (like destroying Hong Kong’s democracy or imprisoning over a million Uyghurs in reeducation camps), but I do think that China has to worry about losing its electronics assembly industry, if it starts doing something like embedding spy chips which threatens the privacy of Western consumers.

Roughly 90% of the world’s laptops and 70% of the world’s smartphones are assembled in China. However, China is more dependent upon the rest of the world, than the world is dependent upon China, with regard to electronics, because China would potentially lose millions of jobs and most of the high-tech components in the electronics are imported or depend on foreign tech, as Huawei found out with its smartphone business, so China can’t continue assembling most of the electronics that it currently exports.

If China starts doing something that impacts Western consumers, the big electronics brands and the Taiwanese ODMs/EMSs (Quanta, Compal, Winstron, Inventec, Pegatron, Foxconn, etc.) are liable to move their electronics assembly factories to other countries (India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil, etc), and this is already starting to happen because China’s labor is becoming too expensive.

The global PC industry can move out of China, since it is mostly controlled by Taiwanese companies (although there are exceptions like Lenovo and Huawei), however, I don’t think that the same will happen to the global smartphone industry. Chinese brands now control roughly 60% of the global smartphone market, and all the major smartphone ODMs and IDHs (independent design houses) are now located in China, since the Tiawanese companies Compal Communications Inc. and Arima have exited the market and FIH Mobile (Foxconn’s subsidiary which designs smartphones) is headquartered in China. 37% of global smartphones had their designs outsourced in 2021, and that outsourcing was almost exclusively to Chinese companies.

Market share of major global smartphone ODM/IDH manufacturers 2016-2020, according to Counterpoint Research (1,2,3,4,5)

ODM/IDH 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Hixih / Huaqin (华勤) 16% 21% 20% 20.4% 34.0% 31%
Wentai / Wingtech (闻泰) 18% 22% 24% 27.5% 23.0% 18%
Longqi / Longcheer (龙旗) 6% 10% 16% 18.8% 20.0% 21%
Tianlong Mobile / TINNO (天珑移动) 5% 6% 4% 4.2% 6.0% 8%
Zhongnuo / CNCE / Chino-E / OnTim (中诺) 3% 2% 3% 5.1% 5.0% 6%
Hemiao / Seedlings / Sprocomm (禾苗) 2% 2% 2% 1.5% 0.8% in “Others”
Communication with Germany (与德通讯) 6% 5% 2% 0.8% 0.4% in “Others”
Others 45% 34% 30% 21.8% 11.0% 16%
% smartphones with outsourced design 23% 24% 27% 36% 37%

Chinese companies currently assemble roughly half of the world’s smartwatches and a third of the world’s tablets, but these are mostly sold by Western companies like Apple, so it wouldn’t be hard for them to switch to Taiwanese companies that move their factories out of China. As far as I know, Samsung doesn’t assemble its smartwatches and tablets in China, although it does outsource about 20% of its smartphones to Chinese ODMs.

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