Wednesday, August 22, 2012
The SEC, in accordance to what was requested in the Dodd-Frank Act, has now ordered US-listed companies to disclose the payments they make to the host governments.
That is absolutely great news… I mean of course for those countries where civil society is strong enough to matter... and where the governments have at least the intention of listening to it.
But, in those countries where civil society is truly weak, as is most often the case of countries suffering the curse of abundant natural resources, those sunshine rules might only mean more darkness, as they could tend to exclude the sort of more reasonable or least unethical extractive industry corporations from participating, leaving the field open to the truly unreasonable and least ethical.
Why do not invest instead all these well intentioned efforts in supporting the development of strong autonomous civil societies, independent of civil societies from other countries, and which can demand better results where it really matters, not in the corporate reports of companies listed in the stock-exchanges of developed countries, or in an annual report of a well intentioned NGO, but on their own oil-fields and mines?
If the SEC would at least dare to follow up and approving a list of countries where a reasonable active participation of civil society existed, and in which therefore these sunshine rules must apply, and a list of those countries where these rules are impossible to apply, then that could be more helpful, not only for us oil cursed citizens, but perhaps even for SEC’s own listed natural resource companies.