Two pints of De Beers, please

by Alex Hern

This piece, from the Atlantic Magazine, has all the hallmarks of a great piece about the world today – a financial crash, caused by oversupply of credit to people unable to pay it back; monopolies; scams; even a royal wedding – except that 1. it’s about diamonds, and 2. it’s from 1982.

I’ll confess to not knowing much about the last thirty years of the diamond trade, but I know enough that the stories contained within – of entirely manufactured demand, pricing kept artificially high, and the whole thing sitting on a house of cards that relies on people never selling what they buy – aren’t a surprise. Sure, there’s no longer the additional downside of the fact that you are actively supporting apartheid, but that evil has been pretty solidly replaced with the trade in conflict diamonds.

None of this is really hidden. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say that more people know it than don’t. So why the fuck do people keep buying them? The whole thing is, frankly, a terrifying example of the degree to which corporate interests have the ability to mould, not only the world we live in, but the very faculties with which we process it.

Story via kottke.org

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