Advancing a Free Society

Conflict Minerals in the Congo: Let's Be Frank About Dodd-Frank

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

n Aug 7, freelance journalist and blogger David Aronson published an important opinion piece in theNew York Times on the effects and ramifications of the Dodd-Frank Act. I congratulate and commend him for a clear and lucid position. The op-ed has unleashed a healthy, robust, and at times acrimonious debate online about the meaning of this legislation. Blogs are beaming with commentary and the Enough Project has been on the defensive with aresponse in the Huffington Post by Sasha Lezhnev. David deserves all the credit for this discussion.

Like the activists who lobbied for the legislation, Dodd-Frank assumes that minerals such as gold, wolframite, coltan and tin, which are extracted from areas under the control of armed groups, drive the conflict, and therefore, curbing the trade would bring peace to the region. Organizations like Global Witness, the Enough Project and its partners, that have invested considerable resources into this issue, contributed to this oversimplified reasoning. Proceeds from mineral trade provide the militias the financial means to acquire more firepower, they argue, which in turn perpetrates the conflict.

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