Our Deal With the Devil
|HTC myTouch 4G on top of a Barnes & Nobel 2011 Nook Tablet|
The title is pinched from an editorial written by Dan Lyons, "Apple's Deal With the Devil." It's an excellent editorial that asks a lot of hard questions about our destructive addiction to the latest and greatest haute gadgetry. While he initially aims his ire at Apple and the Apple faithful, he soon opens up his broadside to cover us all:
As the Times article points out, this isn’t just Apple. It’s every company. It’s every product we use. It’s our entire way of life, built on the backs of people who are being treated in ways that we would not allow ourselves or our countrymen to be treated.Just about every item we now buy in Amera, whether it's cheap or expensive, seldom has "Made in America" or "Made in the U.S.A." on it any more. My Android cellphone with T-Mobile and my Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet (also running Android) were assembled in China. Nearly all of my Olympus camera equipment was assembled in China, especially my E-3 and E-P2 camera bodies. The only Olympus digital camera gear that was made in Japan was the E-1 and my three HG lenses (and oddly enough the official Olympus battery packs), but absolutely none of it was made in America.
Not everything comes fully assembled from China. My 48" Samsung flat-screen HDTV I purchased back in 2008 was manufactured in Mexico. But don't kid yourself. Buried inside that device are components either made directly in China or made with rare elements mined and refined in China. Chinese content is everywhere, even if the label proclaims it was assembled elsewhere. Is there any content made in America? I wouldn't want to bet on it.
I could offer all sorts of convoluted theories complete with well-reasoned villains as to why we're at this point today, but the only reason that matters is us. All of us. Ever since the 1960s, when the Baby Boomers came of age, we've lived an incredible hedonistic life style, fueled by easy credit and cheap commodities. Step by step we willingly made every single decision that has led to this point in time.
Once we started partaking the drugs of consumption and easy credit there seemed no way for us to rehabilitate ourselves. We kept sating the senses, and in the process, we stopped learning how to think, which made the slide down the road to hell all that slicker and faster. Along the way industry, American industry, took whatever steps necessary to lower costs and feed American consumers their fix. So they transferred manufacturing out of the America to artificially cheaper locales and hollowed out American industries and outsourced further and further up the jobs food chain, from blue collar to white collar, on up the ranks of the middle classes, all in the name of efficiency and lower prices.
Our children grew up learning our ways, and they passed on what they learned, adding to it along the way to their children, our grandchildren. There are very few of our parents generation left who remember what it meant to live in moderation, who saved rather than burned up the credit, who knew how to think and plan beyond their own immediate gratification. And they're leaving us rapidly.
There's nothing they could do to help us anyway if they could, because I doubt we'd bother to listen. Instead, we're going to have to live through this. Our deal with the devil was our soul (financial freedom, a good job and career, a bright future) for diabolical favors (instant gratification, cheap credit and cheap consumer items). And it looks like it's come time to pay the devil his due.