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Incentives and disincentives for violence

Keen, David (2000) Incentives and disincentives for violence. In: Berdal, Mats and Malone, David M., (eds.) Greed and Grievance: Economic Agendas in Civil Wars. Lynne Reinner Publishers ; International Development Research Centre, Boulder, CO, USA ; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, pp. 19-42. ISBN 9781555878689

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Those who wish to facilitate peace will be well advised to understand the nature of war. Yet the label war is one that often conceals as much as it reveals. We think we know what a war is, but this in itself is a source of difficulty: Throwing a label at the problem of conflict may further obscure its origins and functions; and the label, moreover, may be very useful for those who wish to promote certain kinds of violence. The idea of war can confer a kind of legitimacy upon certain types of violence, given the widespread belief that certain kinds of war are just and legitimate. This chapter attempts to throw some light on the nature of contemporary warfare by looking closely at some of its functions—notably, the economic functions, which are often partially obscured. The chapter challenges two common notions: that war is a contest between two sides, with each trying to win; and that war represents only a breakdown or collapse rather than the creation of an alternative system of profit, power, and protection. A number of economic functions of warfare are outlined, and attention is given to the interaction of political and economic agendas.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2000 International Peace Academy Inc.
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Sets: Departments > International Development
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2014 09:24
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2020 23:21

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