Another entirely forseeable result from the usual bunch of do-gooding wankers

So, ya\’kno\’, those horrible conflict minerals? Fueling the Congo violence?

So we\’ll all agree to track what comes from where and peace will reign, kittens will gambol in the African sun and life will be better?

The “Loi Obama” or Obama Law — as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform act of 2010 has become known in the region — includes an obscure provision that requires public companies to indicate what measures they are taking to ensure that minerals in their supply chain don’t benefit warlords in conflict-ravaged Congo. The provision came about in no small part because of the work of high-profile advocacy groups like the Enough Project and Global Witness, which have been working for an end to what they call “conflict minerals.”

Unfortunately, the Dodd-Frank law has had unintended and devastating consequences, as I saw firsthand on a trip to eastern Congo this summer. The law has brought about a de facto embargo on the minerals mined in the region, including tin, tungsten and the tantalum that is essential for making cellphones.

The smelting companies that used to buy from eastern Congo have stopped. No one wants to be tarred with financing African warlords — especially the glamorous high-tech firms like Apple and Intel that are often the ultimate buyers of these minerals. It’s easier to sidestep Congo than to sort out the complexities of Congolese politics — especially when minerals are readily available from other, safer countries.

For locals, however, the law has been a catastrophe. In South Kivu Province, I heard from scores of artisanal miners and small-scale purchasers, who used to make a few dollars a day digging ore out of mountainsides with hand tools. Paltry as it may seem, this income was a lifeline for people in a region that was devastated by 32 years of misrule under the kleptocracy of Mobutu Sese Seko (when the country was known as Zaire) and that is now just beginning to emerge from over a decade of brutal war and internal strife.

The pastor at one church told me that women were giving birth at home because they couldn’t afford the $20 or so for the maternity clinic. Children are dropping out of school because parents can’t pay the fees. Remote mining towns are virtually cut off from the outside world because the planes that once provisioned them no longer land. Most worrying, a crop disease periodically decimates the region’s staple, cassava. Villagers who relied on their mining income to buy food when harvests failed are beginning to go hungry.

Yup, dream on fuckwits.

From low incomes to no incomes, from poverty to destitution.

How very well done you screaming nonces, removing the the means of earning a living from some of the poorest people on the planet.

As Oscar Wilde didn\’t say the only thing worse than being exploited by capitalism is not being exploited by the capitalist bastards.

Apologies, but these people disgust me.

7 thoughts on “Another entirely forseeable result from the usual bunch of do-gooding wankers”

  1. No need to apologise, you are correct. Unfortunately these are the sort of people we get in politics these days, stupid and self centred as they are.

  2. It’s something that frustrates me whenever people talk about shutting down exploitative industries and freeing workers from unpleasant jobs. Presumably they wouldn’t be in those jobs if they didn’t need the money, so how does taking that away make their situation better?

    I’ve yet to hear the anti-capitalist do-gooders actually offer a solid plan to solve the real problems. I think the nearest thing was Cath Elliot on CIF talking about using training courses to provide those “saved from exploitation” with better options, but that’s not much use if alternative jobs just aren’t available.

    It’s not surprising that that lot end up doing more harm than good.

  3. Joan Robinson said it. A lefty but a good economist who understood the importance of looking at reality.

  4. I’m a little unsure of what/who your post is aimed at. Does no-one want to be tarred with financing African warlords because of the law? or because their customers wouldn’t approve? Do you see a moral difference between these?

    You seem to be implying that people are morally obligated to trade with people if they then incidentally provide employment, regardless of if they are the ones causing the problems (and preventing said employment) in the first place. Sounds kind of like economic hostage-taking to me. “Pay up or the jobs get it!”.

  5. Yes Fraggle, that’s basically it.

    Worstall and his supporters deliver this spitefulness in the name of progress. They are the current day slavers.

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