Diamonds are fucking shiny rocks!

Ten
Reasons Why You Should Never Accept a Diamond Ring from Anyone, Under
Any Circumstances, Even If They Really Want to Give You One

(2/14/02)
By Liz Stanton, CPE Staff Economist


1. You’ve Been Psychologically Conditioned To Want a Diamond
The diamond engagement ring is a 63-year-old invention of N.W.Ayer
advertising agency. The De Beers diamond cartel contracted N.W.Ayer to
create a demand for what are, essentially, useless hunks of rock.

2. Diamonds are Priced Well Above Their Value
The De Beers cartel has systematically held diamond prices at levels
far greater than their abundance would generate under anything even
remotely resembling perfect competition. All diamonds not already under
its control are bought by the cartel, and then the De Beers cartel
carefully managed world diamond supply in order to keep prices steadily
high.

3. Diamonds Have No Resale or Investment Value
Any diamond that you buy or receive will indeed be yours forever: De
Beers’ advertising deliberately brain-washed women not to sell; the
steady price is a tool to prevent speculation in diamonds; and no
dealer will buy a diamond from you. You can only sell it at a diamond
purchasing center or a pawn shop where you will receive a tiny fraction
of its original “value.”

4. Diamond Miners are Disproportionately Exposed to HIV/AIDS
Many diamond mining camps enforce all-male, no-family rules. Men
contract HIV/AIDS from camp sex-workers, while women married to miners
have no access to employment, no income outside of their husbands and
no bargaining power for negotiating safe sex, and thus are at extremely
high risk of contracting HIV.

5. Open-Pit Diamond Mines Pose Environmental Threats
Diamond mines are open pits where salts, heavy minerals, organisms,
oil, and chemicals from mining equipment freely leach into
ground-water, endangering people in nearby mining camps and villages,
as well as downstream plants and animals.

6. Diamond Mine-Owners Violate Indigenous People’s Rights
Diamond mines in Australia, Canada, India and many countries in Africa
are situated on lands traditionally associated with indigenous peoples.
Many of these communities have been displaced, while others remain,
often at great cost to their health, livelihoods and traditional
cultures.

7. Slave Laborers Cut and Polish Diamonds
More than one-half of the world’s diamonds are processed in India where
many of the cutters and polishers are bonded child laborers. Bonded
children work to pay off the debts of their relatives, often
unsuccessfully. When they reach adulthood their debt is passed on to
their younger siblings or to their own children.

8. Conflict Diamonds Fund Civil Wars in Africa
There is no reliable way to insure that your diamond was not mined or
stolen by government or rebel military forces in order to finance civil
conflict. Conflict diamonds are traded either for guns or for cash to
pay and feed soldiers.

9. Diamond Wars are Fought Using Child Warriors
Many diamond producing governments and rebel forces use children as
soldiers, laborers in military camps, and sex slaves. Child soldiers
are given drugs to overcome their fear and reluctance to participate in
atrocities.

10. Small Arms Trade is Intimately Related to Diamond Smuggling
Illicit diamonds inflame the clandestine trade of small arms. There are
500 million small arms in the world today which are used to kill
500,000 people annually, the vast majority of whom are non-combatants.

References:

Collier, Paul, “Economic Causes of Civil Conflict and Their Implications for Policy,”
World Bank, June 15, 2000.

Epstein, Edward Jay, “Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?”, The Atlantic
Monthly
, February 1982. www.theatlantic.com/issues/82feb/8202diamond1.htm 

Global Witness, “Conflict Diamonds: Possibilities for the
Identification, Certification and Control of Diamonds,” A Briefing
Document, June 2000,  www.globalwitness.org/text/campaigns/diamonds/reports.html 

Human Rights Watch/Asia, “The Small Hands of Slavery: Bonded Child
Labor In India,” Human Rights Watch Children’s Rights Project, www.hrw.org/reports/1996/India3.htm
.

Human Rights Watch, “Children’s Rights: Stop the Use of Child Soldiers;” www.hrw.org/campaigns/crp/index.htm
.

Kerlin, Katherine “Diamonds Aren’t Forever: Environmental Degradation and Civil War in the Gem Trade,”
The Environment Magazine, www.emagazine.com/september-october_2001/0901gl_consumer.html
.

Le Billon, Philippe, “Angola’s Political Economy of War: The Role of Oil and Diamonds, 1975-2000,”
African Affairs, (2001), 100, p.55-80.

Mines and Communities, “The Mining Curse: The roles of mining in
‘underdeveloped’ economies,” Minewatch Asia Pacific/Nostromo Briefing
Paper, February 1999, www.minesandcommunities.org/Country/curse.htm
.

Other Facets, Number 1, April 2001; Number 2, June 2001; Number 3, October 2001,
www.partnershipafricacanada.org/hsdp/of.html
.

© 2002 Center for Popular Economics

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