Academic journal article Military Review

THE MARKET FOR FORCE: The Consequences of Privatizing Security

Academic journal article Military Review

THE MARKET FOR FORCE: The Consequences of Privatizing Security

Article excerpt

THE MARKET FOR FORCE: The Consequences of Privatizing Security, Deborah D. Avant, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2005, 310 pages, $29.99.

Deborah Avant, associate professor of political science at George Washington University, has written an extremely useful analysis of the global trend toward privatization of military and security forces. Avant moves past the heated debate concerning the immediate political, economic, or ethical pros and cons of this burgeoning industry and instead provides much-needed insight into its long-term implications. Peering into the past and studying the present, she identifies the potential consequences of privatization.

Avant makes her case by analyzing the relationship between institutional values that motivate action and the capability to control violence. She notes that "privatization should redistribute power over the control of violence, both within states and between state and nonstate actors." Although scholars have identified at least three dimensions-functional, political, and social-of the monopoly of force in nation-states, Avant maintains that "ultimately all three . . . (and how they fit together) hold the key to controlling violence." The state's ability to determine the military's capabilities often enhances its (the state's) power, but increased reliance on private security firms to fulfill specific roles can undermine the state's monopoly on force. The lack of control or accountability that can result from using contractors detracts from political control-from "who gets to decide about the deployment of arms and services." Thus, market forces begin to intrude on the range of options available to policymakers. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.