The case for corporate civil disobedienceSubmitted by dwalters on Tue, 07/23/2013 - 11:15
Talk of civil disobedience seems to have gained ground in another arena.
Reports David C. Fischer at The Washington Times:
”An Act to promote the financial stability of the United States,” commonly known as the Dodd-Frank Act, contains, anomalously, a provision captioned, “Conflict minerals.” Stuffed into the back of the 848-page law, at the 11th hour, the provision is intended to reduce violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which Congress understands is partially financed by conflict minerals. This goal is to be achieved by requiring public companies to disclose, in reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission, whether gold, tantalum, tin or tungsten contained in any product that a company manufactures or contracts for manufacture benefited “armed groups” in the Congo or any of the nine surrounding countries.
As a statistical matter, chances that a product contains conflict minerals originating in the covered countries range from slight (as they have accounted for less than 2 percent, respectively, of world production of gold and tin and approximately 3 percent of tungsten) to less-than-likely (as up to 30 percent of world production of tantalum is sourced there). Adoption of the law nonetheless had swift, devastating impact.
Well before the SEC adopted implementing rules, sourcing of these minerals from the area stopped, hundreds of thousands of artisanal miners and their millions of dependents lost their means of livelihood and remote mining towns were cut off as airplanes that serviced them stopped landing there. Consistent with its humanitarian record, China began purchasing minerals from the area at huge discounts to global market prices. However, longstanding ethnic and land-rights conflicts, unrestrained by an ineffectual government, not minerals, fuel the violence in the Congo, so this de facto embargo on minerals from the area has not reduced it. New opportunities for thugs, such as providing protection for smugglers have been created. Observers on the ground in the country consider the law illustrates the malign effects of ill-informed do-goodism.