Got Gold? Then You're Supporting Child Labor in Africa!

If you wear a gold ring on your finger, write with a gold-tipped fountain pen, or have gold in your portfolio, then chances are you're connected
to child labor in Africa.

Here's a disturbing article by Rukmini Callimachi and Bradley S. Kalpper of the Associated Press:

These hardscrabble miners include many thousands of children. They work long hours at often dangerous jobs in hundreds of primitive mines scattered through the West African bush. Some are as young as 4 years old. [...]

Wait - but surely you didn't buy any gold from Africa, right? Wrong.

Precisely which products contain child-mined gold, no one can say for sure. Unlike a diamond, gold does not keep its identity on its tortuous journey from mine to market. It passes through 10 or more hands. And when it is melted, usually several times, and mixed with gold from other sources, its address is effectively erased.

Jewelers and retailers that buy gold through UBS include Compagnie Financiere Richemont SA, the firm that makes Montblanc pens, Piaget's luxury watches and the jewelry of Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. Gold processed by Metalor has been used by these brands as well as in discount jewelry sold at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and luxury jewelry sold by Tiffany & Co.

These companies expressed concern about child labor and frustration that they can't certify their products are free of it. Because bush mines, where child labor is ubiquitous, supply a fifth of the world's gold, the companies realize their supply lines may well be compromised.


(Photo: Rukmini Callimachi / AP)

So what? Pretty much any product you own can somehow be connected to some sort of labor that is considered immoral/unethical/illegal in the States.

It took several hundred years for our economy to evolve to the one we have. At some point those evolutionary points will happen to growing third world economies. Perhaps they will evolve slightly differently, perhaps not. But expecting other countries to subscribe to our economic standards when it took use centuries to get here is ludicrous. These things take time.
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There is only a finite amount of gold on Earth. Most of what people currently possess was mined an extremely long time ago, and was bought as scrap and remelted. It's one of the most recycled substances around.
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Besides the small amount of gold in my electronics the most gold I own is probably in the form a wedding band.

But it's repurposed, reccyled gold from One of the rings I bought also contains conflict free diamonds from Australia.

full disclosure: I do NOT work for brilliant earth and have no connection to them, I just love the 2 wedding rings I have bought from them.
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Their parents must have had some say on what their kids are doing.

Are they not to blame or can we even judge this society that we know very little about who might see even the impoverished lifestyles of the US as a step up in living standards
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"Their parents must have had some say on what their kids are doing"

And no, not necessarily. See also: child soldier.

You may as well blame Cecil Rhodes, for all that good it will do.
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dirty diamonds.

dirty gold.

dirty clothes.

dirty oil.

want it clean? stop complaining that prices are too high here. why are our product so cheap? why does wal mart exist? oh-- because we demand cheap-as-dirt prices. if we still had VALUE in the things we purchased as modern luxuries, poor people would not be able to buy the same things as rich people from their neighborhood department stores. it used to be that only rich people could show off their new flat-screen TVs and huge stereo systems. poor people idolized it, had to save their money, and were absolutely PROUD PROUD PROUD of their new toy when they brought it home. now that you can get a f*cking six-pack of TVs from costco, what's the point?
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I agree with this. No one needs to own gold. Placing so much value on something that is just a metal, it's so arbitrary. I follow the same vow that Buddhist monks do and do not even touch gold (or silver).

The same goes for diamonds, which I knew about long before the movie Blood Diamond.

If anyone is interested, I write more about this in my BLOOD DIAMOND review here:
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Eat chocolate?
Guess what, you also support child labor in Africa. Of course the chocolate beans are coated in toxic pesticides which cripple the kiddies fingers too, so its even MORE EVIL than gold.
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Gots me a Diamond grill all up in da houz! Now there is a filthy commodity. Hundreds die a month mining for DeBeers Corp.
Truth be told if the 5 vaults DeBeers owned were opened for sales, the worth of the Diamond itself would be like to belly button lint, if it weren't the cost of the human lives lost in the mining of them.

DeBeers is the KKK of the world.
Ladies should think about who died in the pursuit of that piece of shit on their engagement ring.
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do you buy shoes? or clothes in general? shop at wal-mart? then chances are, you're supporting child labor.

it's a sad fact but... welcome to the world as we know it.
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I make my own clothes out of dog hair and hemp. I only eat locally-grown vegetables, and I live in a house made out of used popsicle sticks.
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What a bullshit article - this is simple subsistence mining! It is a chosen economic activity throughout the lesser-developed areas of the world.

Stamp out the practice, and you send thousands of families into abject poverty and starvation, unless their family income can be supplemented by some other form of "child labour".

The on-site refining techniques using cyanide or (more usually) mercury presents significant health dangers to all participants, and many attempts to educate subsistence miners have had little effect.

Also, the lack of a "DNA" for gold is also complete bullshit - each local component of even highly refined .995 gold can be identified.
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“Their parents must have had some say on what their kids are doing”

you cant possibly be that ignorant... not everyone in the world has the same luxuries as you do, not everyone has the chance to control their lives
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Capitalist conditions, created and maintained by the capitalist class, cause and promote child labor. Period.

IMO: American is the biggest offender. You don't have to look any further than US farms to see examples of this situation right here and now.
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