Dirty gold, Conflict diamonds - Global Ethics?

So, I am wondering, with all of the discussions about dirty gold and
conflict diamonds, and the discussion about gem disclosure, and how
different countries have different cultures and customs, do you
think that there will be a developing global ethics that will relate
to the developing global economy?

What would be the benefit if other countries started using the trade
practices and consumer protection we use in the U.S., and what would
be detrimental to other countries to have similar trade practices
and consumer protection?

What is the difference between consumer protection laws in Asia, and
in Europe, and does it change much from country to country is Europe?

Richard Hart

This is really a large part of what third-world countries are
fighting when they protest “globalization.”

The various entities pushing globalization (the IMF, the World Bank,
etc,) condition their services on the conditions of privatization of
public services and infrastructure and upon the repeal of any laws
restricting “free trade.” Such “restrictive” laws to be repealed may
be clean water statutes, minimum wage laws, child labor bans, in
other words, basic workers rights and environmental protections. The
end result of such an agenda is that the country is left wide open
for multi-national corporations to loot their natural resources, jack
the cost of basic services such as water and power through the roof
and put their children to work in sweatshops.

This is why Latin American countries are fighting NAFTA and its
various clones and extensions such as CAFTA tooth and nail. Such
"free trade" agreements set the stage for the further impoverishment
of the countries participating, for the looting of their natural
resources, the disruption of their economies, the privatization of
their infrastructure. The people of these countries understandably
would prefer to trade under conditions which provide protections to
workers and the environment, and which allow for the natural
resources of the country to be used for the benefit of its people.


This discussion is going to be eternal, because there are no
answers. My 2c though… “dirty gold” and conflict diamonds are a
“Much Wringing of Hands” issue. I sold a black opal that I knew from
provenance was mined in the late 1800’s. It did not have a label on
it saying it was old, and it lookied like it was mined yesterday.
How would you know if someone was killed to get it? You wouldn’t, and
you can’t. Your engagement ring might have a stone from yesterday, or
it might be from 1940, recut. How would you know? You can’t. Even
more so with gold, which, like currency, is constantly being
circulated, remelted, and blended together with all the other gold in
the world. This is not to suggest that the politics of all precious
things (oil!) is unimportant, but that is politics, and world
politics at that. We, as Americans, don’t get to walk into and
tell them how to run their country. I am the eternal optimist, and
believe that the world will gradually become that place where
everything is wonderful and fine. But aside from political lobbying
and voting, I also believe that the best we really can do is to live
that ideal as best we can ourselves. But people who are all concerned
about Conflict Diamonds probably just shouldn’t buy diamonds, because
there IS no way to tell.