Chapter

The privatization of violence

Michael Likosky

in Private Security, Public Order

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199574124
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191721816 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574124.003.0001
 The privatization of violence

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This chapter describes the links between privatization of military civilian activities and the significance this has for efforts to hold PMSCs accountable for their conduct. Through examining the trajectory of privatization through time and across sectors, it outlines the important role that public-private partnerships played from colonialism to the 20th-century industrialization of the United States. The link between nominally civilian privatization projects and violence is explored through a Peruvian natural gas pipeline project: the contract did not directly address security questions but its effect on an indigenous population was no less violent. The difficulty of dissociating public and private aspects of a given industry is seen in the modern high tech industry: though its archetype is the garage entrepreneur made good, the foundations of this industry lie squarely in the US Department of Defense. Both insights suggest the need to have a broader and more flexible approach to accountability.

Keywords: civilian privatization; colonialism; public-private partnerships; private military and security companies; PMSCs; accountability; Peru

Chapter.  6374 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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