Avarice or endemic distress ?

To understand how and mostly why conflicts arise, we must bear in mind a wide range of theories and doctrines that attempt to expound the rationale behind conflicts as such.

International Institute of Social Sciences: Explaining Civil War: A Rational Choice Approach by Syed Mansoob Murshed

Paul Collier and Chris Crammer seek to explain that conflicts appear due to greed or grievance respectively and in this post it is our aim to evaluate which of them is, in our not so humble opinion, the most convincing. Mr. Collier works out that while forward looking indicators of grievance compute limited analytical and supplementary power to why conflicts happen, opportunity for insurgency, understood as greed completes it’s explanatory objectives exceptionally better.

One of the most essential factors that influence the opportunity for rebellion is availability of finance. Collier, in this sense, considers that countries and regions that have any kind of valuable resources at their disposal have higher risk of eagerly suffering animosity and conflict. To this extent we find assorted cases that confirm the rule especially in West and Sub-Saharan Africa (Sierra Leone and Botswana have diamonds , DR Congo has copper, diamonds and coltan and so on and so forth). Both these countries, as a matter of fact have long suffered of corruption and have been deeply distressed by conflict.

Nature and Climate Change, Heating up tensions: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v1/n7/full/nclimate1236.html?message-global=remove

Secondly, the author finds that cost of rebellion is another crucial factor that determines and enthusiastically influences opportunity and chance for a conflict to appear. Countries that have lower rates of per capita income are more liable to undergo conflict due to it can be seen as chance to earn some extra money.

Thirdly, Paul Collier encounters that military leverage could indeed be another imperative for countries that reiteratively experience conflicts. Factors such as dispersed population or mountainous terrain might as well benefit rebellion and can likewise be strongly related to bottomless grievances. He notices that grievances such as inequality, political rights and ethnic polarisation haven’t got paramount aftermath results in relation to the presence of conflict. Ethnic dominance anyhow, does apparently have eager effects over conflict appearance. Another vastly important characteristic in relation to the latter issue is that of diversity, which at the end of the day makes rebellion more costly as there is less cohesion between cultures, ethnicities, tribes, etc.

Popular Social Science: http://www.popularsocialscience.com/2012/11/05/the-causes-of-civil-war/

Grievances as such that breathlessly motivate rebel groups and individuals don’t usually have direct and real relation with topics deep rooted in society as we would guess at first sight. Inequality, political rights and ethnic or religious identity, on the other hand, can’t be pinpointed as the central issues that make conflict viable. Nevertheless, we ought not to see rebels as criminals as we should first understand their context and history.

Civil wars tend to be really complex and thought-provoking phenomenons that assorted authors have tried to explain by employing many contrasting theories. Crammer and collier try to set a theory in regards of civil war, by basing these kind of conflicts on greed and grievance. Both of them try to defend their theories through several convincing examples.

Foreign Policy in Focuss: Natasha Mayers / Flickr. http://fpif.org/economics-means-war-poverty-conflict-minerals-africa/

Nevertheless, although having gone very deep into each example and argumentation it finally seems that it makes no sense at all to make a theory of such a complex phenomenon like a civil war. Basing all causes of a conflict on greed or grievance is indeed a very simplistic and somehow fruitless approach. That’s why, after having read very carefully their ideas, the best way to explain civil wars is through an intricate combination of greed and grievance assumption. Nevertheless, it is essential to acknowledge the importance, seriousness and complexity of the matter, and trying to elaborate an absolute theory could certainly seem very naive.