Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Conflict Mineral Trade Theory Resource Allocation

Program Description

Image: by Mark Craemer
Conflict minerals are a major source of geopolitical and economic disturbance. From diamonds to tungsten, tin, and tantalum mining, these materials, when controlled in a climate of heavy political instability, fuel multiple externalities related to triangular-trade and humanitarian crises. Our consortium will serve as a forum for ASM and UNM students to gain a basic understanding of the role conflict minerals play in the global political economy. We will have reading groups, lectures, and symposia geared towards understanding conflict minerals. Our main objective is to train students to become professionals who may effectively engage the many issues related to conflict minerals. Our consortium members will be trained in the most up to date literature on the subject, they will understand the systemic features of mining throughout the world, and they will know how to construct Corporate Social Responsibility reports (or Reports to Society) in the manner consistent with major corporations. Ultimately, our consortium will serve as a respected intellectual center for such matters, collaborating with the best and brightest on these issues worldwide, including major corporations, NGOs, and other entities currently shaping the global agenda.

CoMTTRA Program Development

Curriculum and Rubric Modules
    1)      Workshop: Systemic Origins of Conflict Minerals (Content)
    This workshop will engage those circumstances that produce conflict minerals from an institutional and resource based perspective. What is the historical context of conflict minerals? What is the difference between genocide and “ethnic cleansing”? How do we create an intellectual map of conflict minerals in the world system? What is the “curse” of conflict minerals; why are resource-rich nations unable to convert those resources into national prosperity?
    2)      Workshop: Trade Theory and Identity Politics: Secular Identity (Content)
    CoMTTRA members will learn to analyze the economic chain endemic to conflict minerals, trade processes such as: international trade, returns on scale, network effects, and factors of production. Members will construct a theory of identity politics. It will place the role of culture in conversation with the discourse on human exploitation, genocide, war, social disparity, and poverty. We want our members to see the direct linkage that arises between conflict minerals and identity politics.
    3)      Workshop: Institutional Corruption (Content)
    Corruption is one of the major factors in the proliferation of conflict minerals and causes an escalation of pain and suffering upon humanity. Sadly, this corruption mainly originates from institutional entities that should be the regulators of righteousness and best practices in the industry and within nations.
    4)      Workshop:  Resource Allocation and Supply Chain Transparency (Content & Method)
    We will discuss the "resource curse" in the context of the theory of national competitive advantage.  This approach will help students understand supply chain management as an ethical and organizational capability problem.  This workshop should train CoMTTRA members to:  1) map a supply chain for a given consumer good, 2) understand where supply chain transparency is needed and where accountability resides in developing this transparency, and 3) evaluate "socialwashing" with respect to current audit standards and supply-side contracting.
    5)      Workshop: Corporate Social Responsibility Reports (or Reports to Society) (Method)
    Major corporations worldwide publish a yearly Corporate Social Responsibility Report in which they describe their community activities and impact on society. This workshop will train members to construct an effective report to society.
    6)      Workshop: Special Topics
    This is a freelance workshop in which we will focus on diverse activities such as watching documentaries and movies related to the CoMTTRA objectives and scope of research. The purpose of this workshop is to enhance our knowledge and awareness of other projects being conducted around the world in order for us to be able to provide a top quality report.
    7)      Learning Outcomes: Research
    Each member is required to develop research that will represent the skills acquired during the CoMTTRA curriculum. These research projects will be presented at a symposium and published in IBSG’s annual report. Additionally, our findings will be published in CoMTTRA’s inaugural journal. This journal will be published annually and will serve as the culmination of our efforts. It is poised to serve as a unique academic resource for business leaders and interdisciplinary scholars of trade and conflict.

CoMTTRA Identity Politics PowerPoint

"In order to engage the complexities of conflict minerals and resource allocation, one must understand the way that identity and the politics of identity frame major problems in the political economy. The following Powerpoint presentation introduces you to the vocabulary used to study identity politics. Although this is only a small part of this discourse, it should prove very useful to any student interested in the intersection between identity and political economy. Every CoMTTRA member must become acquainted with these materials, but we encourage other students to familiarize themselves with this content."
CoMTTRA Identity Politics PowerPoint

Program Managers

Earl Shank

Academic Advisor

Dr. Manuel-J. R. Montoya