"Third World Mining Is Primarily For The Benefit Of The First World."

1834 words - 8 pages

The song "diamonds are a girl's best friend" was made famous by the movie 'Chicago'. But the phrase "diamonds are a guerilla's best friend" is becoming more appropriate in this day and age. That's because of the diamond trade going on in third world countries. The question this essay approaches is "third world mining is primarily for the benefit of the first world". The answer, yes. This essay will be focusing on one company that facilitates mining in third world countries primarily for the benefit of the first world. The company - a multinational has head based in South Africa and Canada, along with representatives in various different countries - third and first world. This company is ...view middle of the document...

The largest cut diamond in the world is the Cullinan I, or the Star of Africa, named after its mine's owner, Sir Thomas Cullinan. It weighs 530.2 carats, has 74 faces, and currently resides in the Tower of London in the sceptre of King Edward 7th.Diamonds were found in such quantities that it implemented global shifts of power and the movement of entire populations. For the first time in history, diamonds, a jewel of exclusive royalty, began to be more available outside of circles of political and historical power. Following the economic upheaval of the Depression and World War Two, DeBeers, the company with nearly an absolute stranglehold on the diamond supply, began a marketing campaign of such ferocity that it literally changed the structure of Western value systems, but most notably in America. Commencing in the 1930s, this campaign spent in the U.S. alone on average per year over 100 million dollars on advertising. The current budget to promote diamonds by DeBeers is around 200 million USD a year. The association of diamonds first with royalty now turned to love as its key lure. The pervasiveness of the slogan, "A diamond is forever," first written in 1948, demonstrates the effectiveness this campaign has had in forging the symbolic value of diamonds in the world's consciousness.How do diamonds benefit first world to determent of third world?The diamond is remarkable as a commodity for one distinct reason: they pack enormous, transferable value in a very, very small package. The diamond has become, because of its market-generated value, the ultimate medium for smuggling and the support and maintenance of resistive efforts, nearly all of them militarily based and violent. The value of the diamond is well instilled in African consciousness, for there is a long legacy of association with it as labour, and as recipient of practices of exclusion, coercion and economic violence. Movements of populations to work in mines became a historical, seasonal Diaspora for the peoples of Southern Africa, the experience long recorded in the cultures as song. Coupled with the political enforcements of segregation to access material resources; land, cattle, the economy itself, and the visual displays of economic disparity mapped upon the land, the experience of diamonds by Africans deeply inscribed the symbolic capital they contained. Arguably, diamonds would not have had the same material impact on Western economies if not for the labour force politically.Diamonds occur all over Africa, but they are accessed most easily in riverbeds. This doesn't require nearly the same intensive effort of mining, and the rivers then begin to serve as borders, mapped as diamond resources, and as such, instruments of the power relations of the region, but corruptive ones. In 1997 the NGO Global Witness published an account of the local civil wars entitled Rough Trade. In Angola and Sierra Leone, diamonds were and are being used to fund violent struggles over land, resour...


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