Unlocking Bolivia’s Lithium Wealth

Map of Bolivia from the CIA World Factbook.Image via Wikipedia

High in the Andes lie the world’s largest reserves of lithium, the metal which is likely to help power the electric and hybrid vehicles of the future.Watch this great report by Lindsey Hilsum, UK Channel 4 News (Updated on 07 April 2009):

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0 thoughts on “Unlocking Bolivia’s Lithium Wealth”

  1. I was ambivalent about posting the above comment (which has also been posted on countless other sites) owing to its length, style and attitude. A good argument is rarely enhanced by rudeness and name-calling, which are not welcome on our blog. Nevertheless, the author may be right on some points, although it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. At the same time, there are lessons relevant to the mission of Chemists Without Borders and those whom we serve.

    I am most concerned about the author’s behaving as a victim. Despite its flaws (forgive me, please), the US remains a tremendous land of opportunity. The failure of people to capitalize on the opportunities is often a result of the individual’s choices, not of intimidation or greed by the wealthy (even though these may well exist, too). No doubt this is partly owing to the kind of brainwashing of which Anonymous correctly speaks: “Get a good education, a good job, and everything will be fine,” was what most of us were taught, and are still being taught today by our families and schools. There was perhaps a time, after the Great Depression, when that was largely true, but it’s clearly not so today for so many people. The misconceptions are indeed compounded by what we see on television.


    The exciting thing is that great opportunities do remain available to almost all, even the capacity to change our own thinking. Where in the United States can you not find a public library within easy reach? There are public servants there who are delighted to help every single one of us learn how better to prosper. How many of us, however, prefer to sit in front of a television than learn new skills? Somehow, the spirit of the Pilgrims, the Pioneers and the Founding Fathers and Mothers is missing from Anon’s perspective, and the perspectives of so many others.

    How many people have been approached about a legitimate home-based business opportunity (now about 50% of American homes are so involved) and turned it down with an attitude of disdain? Some of these business models have successfully generated significant income for huge numbers of families. The founders of many the most notably successful, long-lasting, network marketing businesses, had precisely this in mind: the distribution of wealth to all families regardless of origins, means and education through respectable hard work helping others. For example, there is no reason that anyone cannot be successful in a well-mentored Mary Kay, Avon or Amway business, just to name a few, except one’s own self-inflicted doubts and unwillingness to work hard persistently and consistently. Imagine the legions of people whom Anonymous could help prosper if he were out in the world teaching people how he himself successfully walked the minefield by similarly walking in the footsteps of others who had prospered doing the same.

    With respect to developing countries, it is the recognition of, and capitalization on, free enterprise opportunities that brings prosperity. There is a panoply of successful social enterprises in both the developing and developed world which requires the pioneer’s spirit, not the victim’s spirit. Would that Anonymous promoted the former and not the latter.

    Well, Anonymous, how about also giving us your opinion on how we might still prosper in a civilized way during these hard economic times?

  2. I’m surprised you mentioned MLM as being a good thing. The biggest problem with MLM’s is the cost of the product versus the actual value.

    The lure of making residual income becomes an excuse to overprice the product or service being offered, something most (but not all) MLM”s are guilty of and use as a reason to overprice their product.

    Plus, not creating the product or adding a value added aspect makes it a suspect business Most legitimate business ADD something to the product being sold, or the service being offered. One becomes a glorified reseller when it comes to MLM.


    To the “anonymous poster” that probably lives in Ohio, I am suggesting your long post deserves its own website. Rather than posting the entire post over and over and then criticizing those who delete it, just post a link to where it resides.

    That is actually an environmentally friendly way to get your message across as it takes up less overall bandwidth and instead of having your words banned over and over, you will get hits from all those place that used to remove your message.

  3. Thanks to Mr. Machi for his comments. I’m sure he has a good reason for his opinions and I do not plan here to have an extended debate on the merits of various forms of business enterprise, because it’s probably all been said before. Clearly we are operating from different information and perspectives. Mr. Machi paints with far too broad a brush. His remarks about multi-level marketing might as well apply to General Motors and a host of other companies, especially nowadays, so why single out just one business segment for such criticism? I recommend to Mr. Machi best-selling author Robert Kiyosaki (who is not a network marketer); Kiyosaki correctly points out in his book, “The Business School”, that there are many “hidden values” of a network marketing business (other than making money!), many of which are directly relevant to improving conditions in both developed and developing countries.

    While Mr. Machi may be correct about some businesses, there are others which exemplify the highest standards of professionalism, added value and legitimate profitability; it is these in which we are interested, not in those which or not effective. In the context of wealth distribution (in developed and developing countries), I wonder which business models Mr. Machi would recommend. The ever-popular franchise approach does nothing for the person at the bottom of the heap: the person who buys the hamburger, so to speak, funds everyone else’s profit, from the farmer who grows feed for the cattle, to the CEO of the company. Alternatively, in the Wal-Mart approach, for example, people appear to save money (they’re not going there for the ambiance, methinks); we’ve all saved so much money that the Walton family has become the wealthiest in the US with over $100 Billion! The best network marketing businesses return over 30% of their revenues in profit sharing back to the membership in proportion to their efforts. (I bet the Walton’s would barely miss that $30B if they were to do the same.) I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with these models and with people’s profiting through them; I am saying that the different models lead to different distributions of wealth, some of which serve the under-privileged better that others.

    Regarding Mr. Machi’s second point, I agree wholeheartedly that Anonymous would do well to write his own blog.

  4. Mr. Bego,

    I think you better get that Li research cooking a bit faster before Anonymous has a heart attack.

    Are you in the business of simply extracting Li, or are you gearing your interests toward transforming the metal into a viable alternative fuel component?

  5. Thanks, Mr. Darius,

    Our goal would be to support putting the lithium to good use in any environmentally benign way that brings revenue to the local people as much as to the other interested parties. The opportunity is to establish viable businesses where the ownership and revenue is with the local people rather than with foreign corporations. See, for example, [url=http://www.aidsfreeafrica.org]AIDSfreeAFRICA[/url] founded by Dr Rolande Hodel, whose award-winning work established a pharmaceutical manufacturing plants in Cameroon, with more countries to follow.

    We seek funders and volunteers with all kinds of expertise to join us in our efforts.



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