Introduction: Digging for Diamonds
Whenever there are diamonds on display, there are always the gasps of awe and delight; however, there is hardly a single person who ever thinks of the history of these diamonds. Meanwhile, even the gems of a size of a toenail can reveal a back story worth of at least a novel adaptation.
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Despite their huge price, diamonds are produced in the poorest countries, which makes the latter even poorer and, therefore, contributes to the conflicts within these countries, as well as strikes with the hypocrisy of the promotion campaigns of major diamond-producing companies, e.g., De Beers.
De Beers’ Advertising Campaign: The Pinnacle of Promotional Hypocrisy
It must be admitted that the video offered by Schmuddelfinger (2012) is truly astonishing – watching the history of diamonds production and of the world’s greatest jewelry companies is really exciting. Moreover, it is extremely gripping to track the history of the African countries where the raw materials being produced.
However, when it comes to the most striking element of the movie, it goes without saying that the contrast between the poverty of the African countries and the riches which are located there is the most astonishing thing.
Even though it is clear that it is practically impossible to process diamonds and produce jewelry in Africa, the contrast between the images of the poor African diamond miners and the jewelry advertisement campaigns developed by De Beers raises the shock values rather high.
Concerning the Conflict Trap: When Rebels Rise
Another peculiar aspect of the African diamond trade concerns the conflict trap. It seems that at certain point, digging for diamonds developed into a peculiar cycle of increasing conflict within the country.
As Schmuddelfinger (2012) explains, the money obtained from digging for diamonds was used in the least appropriate way possible: “In Sierra Leone, in the 1990s, our UF rebels used revenue from diamonds to fund a brutal civil war” (Schmuddelfinger, 2012).
Hence, the case of African diamonds is a clear-cut instance of a typical conflict trap described by Collier. “Once the war has begun, the economic damage undoes the growth achieved during peace” (Collier, 2007, 33). Repeated in a cycle, the phenomenon leads to the ultimate decay, which can be the case of the African countries supplying diamonds for the rest of the world.
Natural Resources Trap: Exploring the Paradox
It is also striking that the African countries exporting diamonds suffer from what Collier defined as the “natural resources trap” (Collier, 2007, 38).
According to Schmuddelfinger (2012), “What created the value in diamonds is withholding the supply, making sure that the supply is regulated ad there’s never a flood of diamonds on the market, that’s one thing that De Bees did” (Schmuddelfinger, 2012). Hence, the conflict for the resources was created, which also contributed to the African countries’ poverty.
Conclusion: The Treasure Trove Has Been Discovered
Therefore, these are not the resources that a certain country has, but its position in the chart of the world’s most influential states. Even with its truly incredible amount of resources and the richest mines of diamonds, the above-mentioned African countries remain among some of the world’s poorest states.
Moreover, it seems that, without their resources, these countries would have never taken such low positions. Since other countries managed to take the control of one of Africa’s key riches, the countries are permanently in the conflict trap and natural resources trap, which can be solved only with the help of reconsidering the national strategies.
Collier, P. (2007). The bottom billion: Why the poorest countries are failing and what can be done about it. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Schmuddelfinger (2012). Blood diamonds – the true story. Web.