This is an excerpt from my journal for the class I'm taking on Globalization and Gender... food for thought... not so eloquently executed... but it's a budding idea :)
During lecture on Tuesday, the professor mentioned Hezbollah and the reason it was so hard to extricate that organization from the communities it inhabits being that it provides much needed services to those communities, in effect taking the place of an impotent or weak government. Having read the article from Mother Jones on gold trade in the Congo, an unsettling thought occurred to me… If an organization like Hezbollah, albeit with ideals based on fundamental Islam, can command such loyalty from the community based on its willingness to provide basic needs for the people, why couldn’t… why DOESN’T a corporation such as Anglogold Ashanti attempt to cultivate the same kind of loyalty? And what would the ramifications of successfully doing so be?
If you think about it, the cost of providing those desperately needed goods and services is minimal in a country like DRC… say they set up a school that taught the kind of ideals/information that AA wanted to put forward. They could take over the world! I know it’s a bit of a stretch to think of consumerism and fundamentalism or idealism on the same plane like this, but it already works in the US. A current example would be the coal mines in West Virginia. Even with their horrible track record for safety and the fact that coal energy is grossly polluting the environment, people in the communities where the mining companies operate fiercely defend those companies… because without them, their communities would have no resources at all. They’ve convinced the communities that their lives depend on the protection of the mining companies’ rights to conduct business there, extract resources for a profit from there.