In Your Right Mine

Once again, the jewelry industry is the subject of nongovernmental-organization scrutiny; this time for alleged environmental destruction as a byproduct of gold mining. While these self-appointed watchdog groups deserve praise for looking after the rights of those who can't speak up for themselves, let's not forget their raison d'être is to dictate public policy without actually being elected to legislative office. As Rob Bates points out in his feature, "Dirty Gold: The Next Conflict Diamonds?" (p. 108), this NGO-driven smear campaign is quite different from the conflict-diamonds issue. There, the industry and the NGOs were at odds regarding how much responsibility was ours for the sufferings of victims who were brutalized as diamonds were traded for arms, but there was no question that there was a serious problem that needed to be rectified immediately. In this latest go-round, the
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