November 19, 2011
We all know the old saying about the road to hell being paved with good intentions. This seems to be particularly true when the good intentions are implemented through legislation. A current case: Conflict mineral laws haven’t helped Congolese. Summary: some mines in the Congo are operated by militias that use the profits to buy guns and such. So the Dodd-Frank legislation included a provision that makes it illegal to buy minerals from them. However, it doesn’t include any way for a company buying minerals to prove they didn’t come from a militia, so as a result no one’s buying minerals from anywhere in the Congo anymore. This is putting the more numerous honest mines out of business, and in a place already as poor as the Congo is threatening to lead to starvation for many miners.