The Political Economy of Discontinuous Development: Regional Disparities and Inter-Regional Conflict

The Political Economy of Discontinuous Development: Regional Disparities and Inter-Regional Conflict

The Political Economy of Discontinuous Development: Regional Disparities and Inter-Regional Conflict

The Political Economy of Discontinuous Development: Regional Disparities and Inter-Regional Conflict

Synopsis

In a study that addresses the recent outbursts of regional conflict within national boundaries, Bookman establishes a theoretical framework to study issues internal to regions and regional issues relative to the nation. She proposes four hypotheses for assessing the viability of regions as independent entities. Eight high-income regions characterized by discontinuous development are analyzed. The book also contains empirical chapters that test the model in the contexts of India and Yugoslavia and offers suggestions regarding the possibilities of secession as the outcome of inter-regional conflict.

Excerpt

As in the previous chapter, high-income regions in which secessionist movements exist are classified according to the degree of decentralization that they enjoy. Although the nature of social systems does not lend itself to precise comparative measures of decentralization, evidence indicates that both Punjab and Bougainville enjoy political and economic decision-making powers that were not shared by Katanga and Biafra. in all four regions, the conflict was violent in nature: in Punjab terrorist activities characterized internal turmoil that was accentuated by sporadic military intervention by the central government, in Bougainville the central government attempted to settle the conflict with military means, and in Katanga and Biafra demands for secession resulted in full-fledged civil war. the last two cases differ from the others studied insofar as they are examples of inter-regional conflict that is presently dormant: the war over Katanga took place in 1960-1963 and over Biafra in 1967-1970. the fact that they are historical examples of discontinuous development and inter-regional conflict is irrelevant to the study except insofar as the separatist movements were not permitted to play out their course but were crushed by central rule.

India is often called the world's largest democracy, yet in 1990 two of its states had their legally elected legislatures suspended and were virtually under marital law. These two states, Punjab and Kashmir, share some features but differ in many others. First, they are both presently undergoing a period of turmoil during which secessionist sentiment is being voiced. Second, in both cases the turmoil was characterized by violence both within state borders and between the state and the center. Third, both states are inhabited by an ethnic and religious majority that is a minority in the nation: in the former, the Sikhs . . .

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