The Brutality of the Chocolate Industry; Parallels to Cobalt Mining for Phones


3 months ago



Duncan Trussell

57 appearances

Duncan Trussell is a stand-up comic, writer, actor, host of the "Duncan Trussell Family Hour" podcast, and creator of "The Midnight Gospel" on Netflix.


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Have you ever seen the numbers of people that are working in chocolate, that are working in horrible conditions? Have you ever heard of this? Jamie, find out about chocolate. Someone was telling me that chocolate in many ways, I have to be careful about this because I'm not sure if they're right. Let's look up what it is. But they were connecting, we were talking about cobalt mines and they said have you ever looked into chocolate in chocolate production? It's like, here it is. Mars Wrigley factory, find after two workers fall into chocolate vat. Well, that's not it. I think they're talking about cacao farming and that he was, I think he was insinuating that they used slave labor at some of those places. Oh yeah, I'm sure. I mean that's the, God, who was I talking to, man? God damn it, I have such a soggy brain. Oh man, they were talking about how they... Child labor and slavery in the chocolate industry, this is it. Jesus Christ. Okay, can you make that larger for my shitty eyes? Chocolate is a product of the cacao bean which grows primarily in the tropical climates of Western Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The cacao bean is more commonly referred to as cocoa. So that is the term that will be used throughout this article. Western African countries, mostly Ghana and the Ivory Coast supply about 70% of the world's cocoa. Is it coca or cocoa? How do you say that? I don't know. Because I always say cocoa, like cacao. I don't know. Cacao. C-O-C-O-A. But it's not cacao because the cacao bean and then it's cocoa. Cocoa. Cocoa. Okay. The coca they grow, sorry everybody. Chocolate they grow and harvest is sold to a majority of chocolate companies including the largest in the world in the past few decades. A handful of organizations and journalists have exposed the widespread use of child labor and in some cases slavery on cocoa farms in Western Africa. Child labor has been found on cocoa farms in Cameroon, Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone. Although since most of Western Africa's cocoa grown in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, the majority of child labor cases have been documented in those two countries. Fuck. Fuck. Yeah. You don't like the... It says Brazil too. Scroll up a little bit. You just don't think that, do you? No. When you're eating a Kit Kat. In recent years, evidence has also surfaced that both child labor and slavery on cocoa farms in Brazil. Cocoa workers there face many of the same abuses as those on cocoa farms in Western Africa. Fuck. And then Latin America too they were saying. One dollar per day. Jesus Christ. One dollar per day of a Kit Kat's four days work. Isn't it crazy that chocolate is like love and there's chocolate. There's like chocolate stores come in and buy chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Like if you walk by a chocolate store, there's... You never say, oh child labor. Oh yeah, a lot of kids died for that fucking chocolate you're giving for your... A lot of little tiny unformed bodies are being forced to dig holes in the ground. Dig holes. Just getting sick. Tarry shit. Getting malaria. Yeah. You... This is the... Oh god, I'm sorry whoever told me this. They went on a tour of the Colosseums in Italy. And the person giving the tour was talking about how the horrible shit the Romans used to do in the Colosseums. It was just pure brutality. And the guide says, but it's just as brutal now, but in a different way. And that's what she's talking about. It's like, yeah, we don't have Colosseums where we're like throwing Christians to lions and laughing as they get eaten by a lion. But most things that you are indulging in is just something fun. A little bit of chocolate. Your fucking iPhones, the Cobalt, whatever it is, is just soaked in misery and violence and suffering. Like the whole thing still is fun. Interconnected. Interconnected, yeah. I mean, now that being said, what are you supposed to do about that? Are you gonna stop eating chocolate or using your phone? Well that's what's crazy. It's like they've got us addicted. Particularly, well chocolate would be an easier one, but phones. We are all willingly addicted to these things. We are all checking our email and posting stuff and using it for our podcasts. You're using it. It's a device. It's important. You have to have it. You have to have it. But it's all connected to cobalt mining, which is one of the most horrific things that's happening right now on planet Earth. If people in the cities in America were forced to live like that, everyone would be up in arms. But yet people are tweeting about letting people through the border crisis. We have this border problem. We need to help these people. They're tweeting it on a phone made by slaves. Which is the wildest thing ever. It's very odd. It's very odd. It's rarely discussed. So it's ignorance. In Buddhism, there's three. The root of suffering, one of them is ignorance. Ignorance is not like you're ignorant. You're a dumbass. It's like you're actively ignoring shit. This is one of the nightmare weed situations is when you've been ignoring some shit in your life. Even though you know it's there, you've just been ignoring it, and then you get high. I'm not going to let you ignore this for a little bit. Then you have the bad weed trip because now suddenly you're looking at a relationship that is shitty in your life that needs to improve. You're looking at how you don't exercise or whatever the thing is. So you've been actively ignoring that and thinking that it's going to make the situation better even though when you're actively ignoring something, you feel it. You might not be at the top of mind, but you're feeling it. It's heavy. It's a heavy thing when you're procrastinating. That's active ignorance. I think collectively that's what we're doing here. Active ignorance of the reality that these things don't pop out of thin air. If we're going to have this level of luxury, some people are going to have to suffer for it. But that's not necessarily true. They don't have to. They just are. It's not like you couldn't figure out a way where the company profits slightly less, the people live far better and phones cost reasonably close to what they cost to now. Look at a company like Apple. There's just the amount of money that they've generated from devices. What percentage of it is phones? What percentage of what they sell involves cobalt? Most of their lithium ion battery products. Cobalt is some sort of a stabilizer or something? No idea. Siddharth Kara, who wrote that book on cobalt who came on the podcast and had this ... It was one of the most heavy podcasts I've ever done. Because you're sitting here and he's exposing how these people are living, how these 19-year-old mothers have babies on their backs and they're digging into these hills to get cobalt. The dust is coming up and it's horrific, horrific for them. Terrible health consequences. They're being poisoned and they're making no money and they have no electricity. Don't forget that those cobalt mines are not even owned by Africans. They're usually owned by Chinese. If you just imagined that instead those people lived in an economically thriving town like Detroit was when they were putting together automobiles. Detroit at one point in time was one of the richest cities in the country. Detroit was a huge hub. There was beautiful cars everywhere. America was making these cars and they were selling like crazy. The industry was booming and then they pulled it all out. And then the city imploded. If you went to Detroit during ... When did Detroit fall apart? When did the auto manufacturers pull a giant chunk of their production out of Detroit? What year was that? Because it's a very stark cliff economically. It's like Roger and me when he made that documentary. Oh yeah, right. 1960s. When a building boom pushed people to the suburbs. Population plummeted to 700,000 with the highest unemployment rate, more than 16% in any major American city. Yeah. So it started with the building boom pushed back people into the suburbs, but I think the big one was the automobiles. So what is Detroit's downfall? Yeah, it's the heavily automobile centric industrial landscape of Detroit established in the first half of the 20th century led to rapid declines in population and economic output after automotive decentralization. That means that they took their factories to other countries with fewer regulations. It's exactly what they did. It's exactly what they did. And it makes you think like, man, what did you do? What did you do? Like how much more profit? I'm sure it's a lot of money. A lot. But what did you do?