The perfect holiday gift: Kalashnikov, tank?

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Not for your own use, mind you, but to provide the raw materials for enterprising blacksmiths and metalworkers in Sierra Leone, who turn the iron and such into "farm implements... hoes and axe heads... pickaxes, sickles and even school bells." A single tank will provide a year's work for 5 blacksmiths, they say, and convert into 3,000 items.

Another excellent post by Jamais Cascio, who points us to the UK charity Good Gifts. You can buy online from them a rocket-launcher or machine gun, which later will be donated to the blacksmiths of war-torn Sierra Leone to be turned into farm tools. Very little information as to how this actually works, but they seem to be reputable – so lets hope for the best. That being said, there must be much more efficient ways to do this?

Update: Back in 2002, the UN disarmament program in Sierra Leone gave what amounted to $15 and vocational training to each combatant who turned in a gun. Recent programs in Liberia have promised $300, plus food and lodging. The going rate for a machine gun in Brazil is $100, in Iraq as much as $1000. Demobilization programs often create new markets for guns as people seek to take advantage of these programs. In fact, the success of most disarmament programs has been poor since the proper incentives have often been misaligned. More to follow in a later post.

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