This is an issue I have struggled with since the 60’s. There are no
easy answers. When I buy gold, some of it might have been stolen from
an Egyptian King’s tomb 4000 years ago, or it might have come from a
strip mine in Colorado that is now filled with cyanide, or it might
have come from a Native American miner’s pan in Alaska. Darned if I
can tell the difference, and the people that I buy it from have no
idea where it’s from either.
Same with stones. Unless you actually see the stone come from the
Earth and physically cut it yourself, you really don’t have knowledge
of where that stone comes from and who was involved in it’s trip to
you. Just like our customers, we are required to trust those with
whom we do business. This also requires that they trust their sources
and that those people in turn trust their sources. Sure, to a degree
you can have a lab determine where a stone is from, but how much does
finding out cost, and is it really something you would do on a daily
basis? And even if you go to those lengths, how do you know who dug
the rough from the ground and whether their motivation was to avoid a
beating or to get a pay check?
The only thing that we who live in freedom can do that has any real
and lasting effect is to vote for and elect people that do not take
money or favors from governments, companies or individuals that
participate in or condone behavior such as we have most recently seen
in Burma. Our politicians that turn a blind eye to such crimes
against humanity so they can keep their campaign coffers full are
just as much to blame as the slave drivers wielding whips. Both
accept blood money as bribes, and will continue to do so until the
majority of free people stop them.
Pay attention to where the politicians you support really get their
financing and to whom they owe allegiance. If you haven’t been
active in politics and what has happened in Burma and similar
atrocities around the world are an important issue to you, study up,
and vote accordingly. Don’t take other people’s word for whom to vote
for, especially the politicians themselves. They might let their
ideology interfere with the truth. Find out for yourself, and be
honest with yourself. If you don’t, you have no room to complain.
This is the blessing and the curse of being free.