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Sat Jul 11, 2020, 12:17 PM

Thank goodness my wife and son are more ethical than I am.

I got an email this morning from someone at Linkedin asking me to be a paid consultant for a market intelligence company working for China on opportunities biologics market "because of my accomplishments."

(I'm actually not all that accomplished, but hey...).

(I often have these MBA types, "picking my brain" on their investments. I usually offer advice for free, but my wife was really pissed off when I gave her rich uncle advice, whereupon he bragged about how much money he made because of it, and didn't offer us a dime.)

Anyway, I told my wife about the email, and the first thing out of her mouth was, "They just took Hong Kong!"

I said, "...but it's money."

She said, "no way!" and then directed me to talk to my son, who, when he got his lazy ass out of bed - he's working 12 hour days for his company because of an impending high value project - proceeded to tell me about every immoral act committed by the Chinese gov't for the last ten or twenty years.

"No way! No way Dad!"

Then for amusement, I offered to split the money with him.

"No way! No way!"

OK...OK...they win.

I'm glad they're more ethical than I am, otherwise, I might do the wrong thing.

I'm very proud of, and very much in love with, my wife. I'm very proud of my son.

Wonderful people, they are, even if they stoop to hanging out with the likes of me.

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sat Jul 11, 2020, 12:28 PM

1. While I get your point and admire you and your family, I'm not sure China is any more immoral than

our government, especially nowadays.

Not snarking at you, just what our government has become.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #1)

Sat Jul 11, 2020, 12:35 PM

3. Oh, I agree.

I have real sympathy though for those lower level people in our government - EPA scientists come to mind - who have been compelled to work for our government, knowing how truly evil Trump et al are. I applaud those who stuck it out trying to keep the lights on when a new administration cognizant of the rule of law takes power.

Whenever I think of people who work with the devil in order to ameliorate the worst of it; people like Rauol Wallenberg, or Oskar Schindler, I reflect that there are many people who are working in our government who have the high ethics that such a comprimise is justified.

That's not my case. If I did it, it would have been for money, and I'd be working to strengthen a government at least as corrupt as our own.

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sat Jul 11, 2020, 12:33 PM

2. Love to hear that your son is both informed and moral.

Being informed takes work. Not many in this world care enough to spend their time trying to make it better.

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sat Jul 11, 2020, 12:53 PM

4. So...How much was on the table?

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #4)

Sat Jul 11, 2020, 01:35 PM

6. I would have asked for a few hundred bucks an hour, but I never got to the point of asking.

I was overruled.

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sat Jul 11, 2020, 12:57 PM

5. Whew, 2 to 1 vote! Close, but landed on the right side 🙂

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sat Jul 11, 2020, 01:35 PM

7. Serious question...

Does it make me unethical to take money from repugs? I do it on a daily basis as a businessman. If so, then I am going straight to that fairytale place (hell).

Most of us indirectly give money to China many times a day with our purchases. Does that make us unethical, because we can't afford to "buy American".

While I applaud your wife and son for higher ethics than mine, I will hypothesize that the decision was made easier because you CAN turn it down (financially).


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Response to Ferrets are Cool (Reply #7)

Sat Jul 11, 2020, 02:03 PM

8. Well, it depends for what the Repugs are paying.

If you're selling them cages in which to put Hispanic children, that's one thing; if you're selling them tires for their cars, that's another.

The other point you make is well taken. Pretty much every modern electronic device is at least derived from materials mined in China, specifically the lanthanides. In fact, every generator and every electric motor manufactured in modern times contains either neodymium or dysprosium or both. For many years, lanthanum was a major component of Prius cars. All of these elements are lanthanides, and most of them are often mined under appalling and frankly dangerous conditions.

Until recently we "recycled" most of our electronic junk in China, with huge health consequences to the Chinese; there are children there with appalling concentrations in their bloodstreams of lead and/or halogenated flame retardants used to keep electron devices from going on fire.

I am acutely aware of all of these things, and often post on the subject over in the Science forum.

I don't have a good answer for you.

The case is not limited to China of course. Electric cars including the much worshiped but environmentally and morally dubious Tesla car depends - despite all the dancing and misleading rhetoric by appalling people like Elon Musk - depends highly on cobalt, which is mined under slavery conditions in the Congo region: Often the de facto slaves are children. A related element also mined in this region, on which our cell phones depend, is tantalum. These metals are collectively known as "conflict metals."

I have a cell phone, and in many ways I am more guilty of an ethical compromise, because I know what's involved.

Let's not even talk about petroleum. I drive a car, even though I fully realize that climate change is a crime against all future generations.

The serious answer to your serious question is that ethical purity is very difficult to achieve.

Not being a consultant for Chinese business is a simple choice to make. I am not to be congratulated for not doing that; since I have not, in many other places, agreed to forego my comfort in order to protect young Africans from slavery, for example. I claim I need my tantalum. I obey the law and I take my electronics into government electronic recycling days, and I feel good that I'm recycling, even though I know full well that the brominated flame retardants will end up in the blood stream of babies - not Chinese any longer, since the Chinese are rich enough to have banned the import of electronic waste - but perhaps babies in Africa or India or Bangladesh, some place that we pretend doesn't exist.

The more and deeper you look the more you question yourself.

As John Lennon put it, "A crowd of people turned away, but I just had to look..." I just had to look.

I do try to think a great deal about better systems, and I work hard to address these thoughts and what I've found out to my youngest son, who is fast becoming a fine scientist...but no, I'm hardly innocent; innocence is something I have not the moral strength to achieve.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #8)

Sat Jul 11, 2020, 04:51 PM

9. Thank you for such a thoughtful answer. I never expected such a

detailed elucidation of my question.

Yes, it is very difficult choice and many times, we take the lesser of the evils and hold our noses.

I am being greedy when I suggest this, but you should make a thread discussing some of the thoughts you just posed above.

Again, thank you very much. My day has been made better just having this short conversation.

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sat Jul 11, 2020, 10:54 PM

10. Well, the expression "my better half" didn't come from nowhere. :) nt

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