The Theory Of The Conflict Trap

2215 Words Sep 2nd, 2014 9 Pages
Does the theory of the ‘conflict trap’ adequately explain recurring civil wars in some societies?
I. Introduction

II. The Conflict Trap Theory
The Conflict Trap is the theory that countries that have experienced civil war suffer a greater risk for new conflict than other countries with no prior history of civil war. Paul Collier argues that conflict occurs disproportionately in the countries in the ‘bottom billion’ population of the world because they have not had they ‘have not had any growth at all.’ Furthermore, he finds that the civil wars in these societies aggravate structural forces; poverty, poor governance and non-participation in the modern political economy and thus makes them more susceptible to further conflicts. This argument attributes key structural factors in past conflicts to have polarized societies and eroded society’s ability to handle conflict without violence. Collier, Hoeffel and Soderdom have estimated that societies have a 40% risk of relapse in the post-conflict decade. These statistics are even higher according to Elbadawi, Hegre and Milante, who use a more inclusive definition of conflict. The main argument of the Conflict trap is that war destroys economic development and marks a post-conflict society by anger and hatred amongst victims of the conflict. Consequently, the motive and opportunity for future conflict is heightened by the stage set up by earlier conflicts. This theory may explain why countries such as Indonesia, Iraq, Burundi,…

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