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Clueless do-gooders make Africa's conflict mineral mines even more dangerous

Dodd-Frank stupidity writ large

Golden tooth grin

Of course, there's a certain type that gets very upset when you point out that the current UK government is simply a way of raiding the dustman to provide opera for the duke, but that banditry idea was definitely – and definitively – true of William the Bastard and his mates. You can apply whatever depreciation rate to the idea over the past millennium you like.

The insight of this paper is to note that if you lower the returns from stationary banditry then you'll get less of it but you've still got those young men with their guns roaming around, so roving banditry – the worse kind – might increase.

That's exactly what they find, in that the same militia groups are now killing people over agricultural production rather than the now-lowered value of tin, tungsten and tantalum mining.

Mining really is much lower in value: none of the Western processors will touch the stuff from these regions now, while the Chinese are buying and smuggling at up to 80 per cent discounts. It's much less valuable to be the armed “government” of a mining area now so fewer people are doing it.

But there's still the same number of people who wish to do it, so they look for other opportunities. It is worth noting that while Mafia-style control might not be quite what we want for an area, an established Mafia control of a particular area or industry is a lot less violent than either contested control or pure anarchy.

One of those industries is the aforementioned agricultural sector. But, as I've mentioned around here before, it was never really going to work for gold.

It's too easy to process it, to commingle it, to smuggle it, and there's simply too many buyers of raw gold out there (there's three in the local 10,000-strong town in rural Portugal where I hang out) for anyone to ever be able to stop that trade. So, our armed gangs now battle to control the gold areas as well. Thus we get increases in violence.

Which is an interesting piece of Social Justice Warriordom, don't you think? Well-meaning types in a couple of NGOs think up some idea to mobilise the Twateratti. It's sold to us under false pretences, comes in at 400,000 times its stated budget and actually makes the original, underlying, problem worse.

The bloke who managed to achieve all of this has received the following awards, on top of six honorary doctorates:

The Huffington Post Game Changer Award; the United Nations Correspondents Association Global Citizen of the World Award; the Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award; the Princeton University Crystal Tiger Award; the U.S. Department of State Distinguished Service Award; the Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution Award; Outstanding Literary Work for Not on Our Watch at the 39th NAACP Image Awards; 12th Annual Moste Lanterns Award; Global Action Humanitarian Award; American University School of International Services Alumnus of the Year; Southern California Mediation Association Randolph Lowry Lecturer Award; Dispute Resolution Services Louis M. Brown Conflict Prevention Award; Leon H. Sullivan Foundation Special Service Award; Temple University Alumni Fellow; Kean University Human Rights Institute Award; the State Department’s Superior Honor Award; and the Champion of Human Life Award from The Values Network.

Odin's Tooth, but it's a funny old world, isn't it? ®


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