CNN recently published an op-ed by Mark Quarterman, research director of the Enough Project, a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. That began thusly:
The accelerating pace of the slaughter of elephants for their tusks has put African elephants at catastrophic risk in the coming decades. To make matters worse, some of the region’s most notorious armed groups are taking tusks to finance their atrocities.
The Somali terrorists of al-Shabaab, the Sudanese government-supported janjaweed militia that has been responsible for much of the violence during the Darfur genocide, and the Lord’s Resistance Army, which has kidnapped hundreds of boys and girls across central Africa to be fighters and sex slaves, are participating in this illegal trade.
A caption on the accompanying photo gallery stated that “Most illegal ivory is destined for Asia, in particular China, where it has soared in value as an investment and is coveted as “white gold.”
Money is not just bits of paper, metal or electrons in a computer system. It is the uber-asset that buys all others and takes many forms, including this “white gold”. One way to break this cycle of death is to end the value of ivory as an investment. The refusal of legitimate businesses to handle ivory is evidently not enough to stop the slaughter.
That will probably take changing the very meaning of investment. How shall we go about that? What does investment mean to you?