Thursday, June 17, 2010

Afganistan's Mineral Riches Will Make Things Worse!

Earlier this week the BIG NEWS was all the mineral riches that appear to be underground in Afganistan. This was presented as if it were news, which it apparently wasn't as the report about it came out in 2007. It was also presented as if this were good news for Afganistan, which it most definitely is not.

Why would a bunch of valuable minerals under your land be bad news? Well, if it was your land personally, maybe it wouldn't. But a quick look around the world at what countries are rich, which are poor, and which are war torn will show you that countries whose only wealth comes from natural resources are some of the poorest, most unstable countries in the world.

Take for instance.....well, pick just about any country in Africa. Or, more specifically, read about how the oil industry is benefiting Nigeria in this story in today's NY Times. The fact is, without a stable democracy to make sure that some of the wealth from the minerals gets put into things like education, infrastructure, and health care that will benefit the whole country, mineral wealth tends to be seized by a few businessman and/or corrupt politicians. Oh, and you might expect there to be lively warring factions trying to get control of the minerals.

So, what does this mineral wealth mean to Afganistan? More war, more foreign invaders, more political corruption(if that is in fact possible in Afganistan) and little benefit in terms of a better life to the people.

Hey, but there is good news: Our laptop batteries could get cheaper!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An interesting thing about Afghanistan's economy, poppy production (a.k.a. Opium) has risen to its highest level since the war started and the Taliban ousted. Isn't that neat?

Our government says drugs are bad and starts a war on drugs at home. It takes money from its citizens to force profits to the companies that fight the drug war at home, takes more money from its citizens to force profits to companies that are working another "war" on the other side of the world. Those mercenaries (a.k.a. "private contractors) helps grow the drugs that get shipped back over here to be fought in the war on drugs.

Rinse, repeat, wipe hands on pants...

All these government programs forcing legislated profits to the mercenary companies on both sides at the expense of the citizens. Now that is some sound economic policy (and a pretty profitable business model! No wonder why we haven't left yet!

Can you imagine what would happen to a commander and chief of the military if he tried to pull out of a third world country hosting a manufactured war from which the military industrial complex was so richly profiting?

Teabagged again