Shaking the Resource Curse
When we talk about theft in international trade, we usually mean piracy, smuggling, or copyright infringement. Professor Leif Wenar, of King's College London, thinks we might be missing the forest for the trees.
Illegal transactions across borders are going on every day on an enormous scale. Consumers cannot help buying stolen goods when they buy gasoline and magazines, clothing and cosmetics, cell phones and laptops, perfume and jewelry. Worse, the money consumers spend at the mall and the filling station ends up in the hands of some of the most brutal rebels and repressive regimes in the world.
Wenar set out a powerful case in a recent paper in Philosophy & Public Affairs to show that corporations and countries that buy natural resources from bad actors in developing countries are violating the property rights of the people of those countries. If this claim is justified, then it is urgent to find ways to stop these corporations and countries from sending us these stolen goods.
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