The price of our hunt for better technology

We rush away in our lives, whining about slow computers and constantly have more and more demands. Maybe it’s time to take one step back and look at the consequences of our desires.

My friend Steven Clark has written in 6 Million Reasons to Reconsider your Next Upgrade about the war in Congo, and how the world’s constant urge for minerals leads to terrible and inhuman actions – approximately 45 000 people die every month.

Please read Steven’s article, consider the impact of your choices and think about what you can possibly do to make a change.


  • Patrick says:

    Hi Robert,

    thank you very much for pointing at this issue. I haven't read the article yet but will do immediately tomorrow morning.

  • James says:

    A very interesting topic, although I feel the problem is out of our phone-holding hands. Mass global consumerism is to blame — and while we are a part of it, the people that control it are the ones heading up the corporations – these people value profit more than human life and don't think twice about a decision if they can save a few bucks.

    There are many symptoms to our problem, Congo being one of them, the Amazon rainforest another, melting poles another, the middle-east conflict etc. etc.

    People should certainly think twice about "upgrading" to the newest technology, but I don't think change will be affected unless we somehow instigate a massive boycott of new stuff.. e.g. Apple's products. Apple is a typical example of modern consumerism at its "best" (or.. worst).

    The fact is, if I buy a “MacBook” today, it will eventually become obsolete in my eyes, through no technical failing of the technology at hand but simply because Apple's marketing techniques imply, using the same techniques that first drew me in, that the new product will enhance my productivity and therefore my life, more so than the originally sufficient “MacBook”.

    Apple's growth as a profiting technology company relies on the fact that its customers will never be satisfied with what they’ve got.

    You can argue that Apple's motives as a company surpass the rudimentary objective of profit, but you are only fooling a happy few, all of whom constantly succumb to their marketing drivel.

    The idea of technology is to make our lives easier, not to make us constantly feel incomplete.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Thank you.


    I agree. There are many different ways we can affect the situation, though, in terms of what we buy, when we buy it, policies we demand of the people we buy from etc.

  • Matt Robin says:

    But look…if I scroll my finger over the screen, the pictures move about in a 'swoosh' manner and everyone who sees it makes "Oooooh," noises, so it must be purchased…MUST!!! 😮

    I'm kidding, of course, and Steven raises a good point (as ever).

    We should all be ashamed of not considering the broader implications of our lust for tech-joy. Maybe most people are just not aware of the facts?

  • Robert Nyman says:


    I think many people aren't aware, but also that people don't how they can affect the situation.

  • Thomas says:

    If you refrained from buying oil, gays would still be stoned in Iran. The ones throwing the stones would just be poorer. If you bought no lead-painted toys, dissidents would still be imprisoned in China. These problems are political, not economic.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Politics no doubt plays a major role, but I think politics is also affected by economics.

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