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Economic Liberalization and Political Violence

Author: Francisco Gutiérrez, Gerd Schönwälder

Publisher: Pluto Press


Publish Date: September 15, 2010

ISBN-10: 745330649

Pages: 336

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

Since the Cold War, academics’ and policy-makers’ attention has been directed at two global phenomena—first, the combination of marketization, liberalization, and globalization, which has spread to almost every country in the world; and, second, the spate of civil wars that emerged after 1989, even as the wars-by-proxy fueled by the Cold War came to an end. While much has been written on the causes and consequences of both these developments, very little attention has been paid to the possible connections between them. Have the liberalizing pro-market reforms been responsible for provoking such opposition that violent civil war resulted? And what have been the consequences of the wars for reform?

It seems plausible that liberalization—with its acknowledged harsh consequences for income distribution and employment—might provoke violent opposition. Equally, globalization—which encompasses liberalization but goes beyond it, opening economies not just to the opportunities presented by global markets, but also to acute vulnerability associated with global cycles—might be thought to be likely to provoke rebellion as people lose their economic security. And in the reverse direction: One might expect that when such violent conflicts end, governments would cling to the security of planning and protection rather than opening their economies to the fierce internal and international competitive forces that result
from liberalizing reforms.

This important book represents the first systematic attempt to explore these connections. It does so both theoretically and in practice, drawing on econometric cross-country evidence as well as case studies encompassing a range of situations.

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