Frontier Capitalism on Discovery Channel
I recently came across a television series on the Discovery Channel called Jungle Gold. In a nutshell, it’s about these two mid-thirtyish Utah real estate speculators who lost all of their money and then decided to go to Ghana to dig for gold. If you are looking for gold these days Ghana is still one of the best places on earth to do it in. It’s the Saudi Arabia of the metal, from what I hear.
Being broke, the two protagonists, Scott Lomu and George Wright, raise some seed capital from investors back home to fund their expedition and the excavators and other heavy equipment they will need. In the very first episode upon arriving at the acreage they’ve leased to mine, they discover that the Chinese are already mining it. Not only that but the Chinese have grim-looking armed guards staring the duo down. So they high-tail it back to town to appeal to the tribal chiefs for help. The old guys are surprisingly sympathetic to their plight but explain that since the Chinese have far more fire power than they do, there’s nothing to be done about it but go dig elsewhere.