Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shut Me Up!

I asked representatives of Enough and Global Witness today whether they would join me in calling for a social impact analysis of the embargo "inevitable dislocations" that have been in place against Congolese minerals since April. Surely there are few things more important to know right now that what impact the law has had: who's been hurt, who's been helped, and why. I assured them that the call was for real: we could negotiate terms of reference and no doubt agree on proper unbiased researchers to conduct the analysis. There are plenty of such people: World Bank consultants, anthropologists and sociologists skilled at teasing out answers from survey questionnaires in fourth world contexts, micro-economists who have spent their lives studying artisanal mining, public health analysts practiced at mortality surveys. And they come cheap: Hiring three or four of these folks to do a reasonably thorough study couldn't possibly cost more than a hundred grand, peanuts in the scheme of things.

No will do, said Enough. We'll get back to you by next Friday, said Global Witness.

C'mon, guys. It should be apparent by now that name calling won't shut me up. Neither will questioning my motives or funding. But solid social science: That'll do it every time.

Here's to hoping.

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