Soft Intervention and the Puzzling Neglect of Economic Actors

Susan L. Woodward

in Strengthening Peace in Post-Civil War States

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780226351247
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226351261 | DOI:
Soft Intervention and the Puzzling Neglect of Economic Actors

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This chapter argues that local economic actors are critical to the creation and sustainability of the peace, but that the current economic incentives approach fundamentally misunderstands their role and its causes. It begins by laying out the assumptions that underlie the current approach of international economic intervention. It then turns to the conditions under which local economic actors can be expected to be peace-promoting, in two ways—first in terms of the political settlement and second in terms of economic policies that business prefers. The chapter ends by questioning the puzzle of current policy and practice, the silence on, neglect of, and often even disincentives to domestic entrepreneurs and economic activity. This puzzling behavior is particularly surprising given that economic actors are so prominent in the literature of greatest influence on international policy as a cause of civil war and its prolongation, and also that the newest vogue in peace-building policy circles is “private sector development”.

Keywords: sustainable peace; economic incentives; international economic intervention; peace-building; private sector development

Chapter.  13180 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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