The Economics of Political Violence: The Effect of Political Instability on Economic Growth

The Economics of Political Violence: The Effect of Political Instability on Economic Growth

The Economics of Political Violence: The Effect of Political Instability on Economic Growth

The Economics of Political Violence: The Effect of Political Instability on Economic Growth

Synopsis

The first work to expand the scope of traditional economic growth models to include political instability, this book examines the motivations an individual has for participating in an act of political violence and establishes the conceptual linkages between micro-level, individual-based theory and aggregate structural theories of political violence and revolution. Gupta also constructs a composite measure of political instability and then develops an integrated model of economic growth which incorporates political instability as an endogeneous variable.

Excerpt

The end of World War II marked a distinct break in the history of human civilization. For the first time in the millennia of recorded history, war between nations increasingly started to take a backseat. Owing to the establishment of a world forum, the United Nations, the overwhelming influence of the superpower hegemony, and the threat of nuclear war dampened the nationalistic fervor for physical conquer of other countries. Instead, what we see is a virtual explosion of conflict within nations. Few countries in the world, if any, are completely free of violence caused by conflicting group aspirations in zero-sum societies.

Indeed, as one picks up a newspaper or watches television, the images of groups of people taking part in collective political action are virtually impossible to escape. These actions are sometimes peaceful, sometimes violent, and always directed against an established political order. Sitting in the relative calm of a living room or a classroom with little moral imperative, it is difficult to relate to those wild-eyed revolutionaries in distant lands. Therefore, the temptation to brand such behavior as "fanatical," "irrational," or beyond the scope of explanation is rather strong. In fact, until quite recently the vast literature of Western (or nonMarxist) social science has had precious little to say about such behavior. However, quite interestingly, the classical eighteenth- and nineteenth-century writers were keenly aware of the role of collective rebellion in shaping the destiny of social evolution. Karl Marx based his theory of societal evolution on conflicts generated from what he called the "inherent contradictions" within the capitalist society. The social contract theorists such as Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau theorized about the birth of modern political structure through social strife and recognized the need to find a structure that would prevent the society from falling into the grip of anarchy. Historians such as de Tocqueville, organizational theorists like Max Weber, and Social Darwinians such as Herbert Spencer paid particular attention to the role . . .

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