Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Moral Blindness of Capitalism


This post attempts to highlight the moral blindness in capitalism that is as gaping as those of communism highlighted in the analysis of Godard's film. Two recent news articles have demonstrate this blindness.


Among modern industry, few are so ripe for criticism and caricature as the diamond trade. The diamond industry provides products that that have been, since the modern founding under Cecil Rhodes in colonial South Africa, simultaneously a symbol of excessive wealth and large-scale murderous economic/environmental exploitation and colonialism. This recent article in Der Spiegel highlights how little has changed: The founder of the "Kimberly Process," intended to prevent blood diamonds by requring a certification process, has resigned from the program in disgust, claiming that the diamonds are once again "covered in blood" and writing:

“The Kimberley Process has been confronted by many challenges in the past five years, and it has failed to deal quickly or effectively with most of them: smuggling and fraud in Brazil, and issues of even greater importance in Côte d’Ivoire/Ghana, Guyana, Venezuela, Zimbabwe and now Guinea and Lebanon… in the case of Venezuela, we have effectively condoned diamond smuggling - the very thing we were established to prevent.”"

The issue of importance in Zimbabwe is the alleged massacre of hundreds of workers by government troops. How, exactly, diamonds coming out of Zimbabwe or the Congo could not be considered tainted in the first place is unclear; even without the massacre the industry is proping up Mugabe, but counter this byclaiming that they are not financing a rebel army, just an infamously brutal dictatorial government, and in doing so demonstrate profound moral blindness. The other statistics for Libanon and Guneia that are cited in the news report are absurd and clearly point to the failure of the Kimberly process and the oversight and self-policing that one is supposed to expect from "responsible" capitalism.

This moral blindess is perhaps even worse than that of the communist as revolutioanry midwife, unwilling accept the responsiblity for the rotting fruit of his revolutionary aftermath. This exploitation is not rooted in ideological fuzzy thinking, but pure greed.

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