In addition to being a writer, China Miéville is a rigorous thinker (he holds a PhD in International Relations from The London School of Economics) and an astute dissector of gnarly political issues. His latest post uses Naomi Campbell’s involvement with Charles Taylor and “blood diamonds” as an entry to discuss broader issues of political/economic self-interest and moral complicity.
Blood & Ice
Without question many funds raised by these unspeakably valuable rocks funnel into the coffers of butchers, amputators, despots & murderers. Without question it would be better were such activities not bankrolled. By anything. Nonetheless, a moment of critical hesitation is necessary. Moralised politico-economic concepts do not necessarily go viral through fractal vigour nor heuristic rigour. More often than not they are the result of aggressive marketing campaigns. Certainly there may ultimately be conflicts over the concrete content of any such category, which may or may not open space for alternative investigation. Nonetheless when any such concept reaches a critical mass of unquestioned authority, in particular when deployed by the semi-official & official arbiters of the legitimate political agenda, it does not automatically invalidate it, but it should red-flag it for attention.
Accordingly, a few questions.