Explaining Civil War
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Explaining Civil War

A Rational Choice Approach

Syed Mansoob Murshed

This book explores the pre-conditions for conflict in terms of growth failure and critically appraises the greed and grievance theories common to conflict literature. It is argued that various institutional mechanisms of restraint that can be labeled the ‘social contract’ are crucial for violent conflict avoidance. The reasons underpinning the instability of treaties ending civil wars, post-conflict reconstruction issues, liberal peace theory, and how globalization and conflict relate are also examined.
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Chapter 5: The Social Contract and Lasting Peace

Syed Mansoob Murshed


MOTIVATION The previous chapter analysed the difficulties in sustaining peace accords that aim to end wars. Its concern was mainly with the aftermath of war, which is chiefly about the difficulties of arriving at credible pacts or accords that lead to the cessation of hostilities. A variety of factors, including the imperfect nature of the commitment to peace amongst domestic actors, and the flawed nature of external peace enforcement, were to blame for these difficulties. I also examined the various types of power sharing agreements that could be devised. A viable peace treaty, if it does not lead to partition of the erstwhile nation state, must give former belligerents some share in the future government of the country. Equally, rights of minority or excluded groups require some guarantees, and they need to have a voice in the formulation of policies and decisions that affect them, otherwise they may revolt again. This may imply a federal or decentralized mode of government, buttressing the power sharing peace treaty that ends war. In this chapter I will be concerned with issues related to the sustainability of peace in the long term. These turn out to be the very factors that characterize a well-functioning polity in the long-run. Chapter 3 suggested that if the forces behind either greed or grievance are to take the form of large-scale violence there must be other factors at work, mechanisms in the middle, related to the institutional failure to resolve conflict peacefully. Addison and Murshed (2006) call these...

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