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A rational kind of madness

Keen, David (1997) A rational kind of madness. Oxford Development Studies, 25 (1). pp. 67-75. ISSN 1360-0818

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Identification Number: 10.1080/13600819708424122


The paper argues against the notion that wars, whether international or civil in nature, are essentially irrational and “imposed” on societies. Rather they should be regarded as emerging from political and economic processes taking place within such societies—particularly when “peace” involves violent processes as the corollary of economic development and political consolidation. The paper examines the rational nature of warfare, turning to historical examples before the modern period. This framework is applied to the civil wars in Sudan and Sierra Leone, leading to a general proposition as to the connection between “economic war” and the weak state. The paper concludes that it is essential to look at the functions of war as well as its costs in order to bring it to an end, and to design appropriate diplomatic and economic pressures to bring this about.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 1997 International Development Centre, Oxford
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BC Logic
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2014 09:46
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 23:40

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