Edited by Adam Graycar and Russell G. Smith
Chapter 12: Corruption and the Global Diamond Trade
Dina Siegel INTRODUCTION For many generations the social world of diamond traders was considered as secretive and isolated. Emphasizing the value of their product, but also trying to protect themselves from the risks outside, diamond traders around the world created their own organization, their own rules and codes of behavior, argot and rituals, in which they shared the common values and norms, but also applied social control and justice mechanisms. Trade diasporas in general, and diamond traders in particular, proved the great importance of these mechanisms in the course of history. This guaranteed their survival in a hostile society and their relative independence from local authorities. They based their activities on trust and intense interpersonal relationships, they established worldwide networks, markets and institutions and later they also introduced advanced technology and increased their co-operation with state agencies. The most rapid and significant changes in the diamond trade took place at the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, which shocked the generations-long traditions and internal dynamics. One of the processes was the shift in the symbolism of a diamond. While diamonds have symbolized love, passion and wealth since antiquity, in the last years of the 20th century an attempt was made to change the meaning of diamonds into a symbol of war, cruelty and misery. An example of this shift is the so-called ‘blood diamonds’. The negative image of the diamond trade in general and in particular in regard to these ‘blood diamonds’ was based on...
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