Civil War is Not a Stupid Thing: Accounting for Violence in Developing Countries

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Hurst & Company, 2006 - Africa, Sub-Saharan - 329 pages
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Why is there so much violence in the developing countries? What does it have to do with economic development? What does it have to do with globalisation? In addressing these and other questions, Christopher Cramer takes a broad comparative approach, from recent wars, insurgencies and violence in Angola, Brazil, and Iraq to the American Civil War, showing how wars have been paid for throughout history. He also compares post-conflict reconstruction efforts in Mozambique and Iraq with how nineteenth-century America and twentieth-century Europe rebuilt their shattered societies and economies. "Civil War is Not a Stupid Thing" takes issue with two common perspectives on violence and war. The first is the liberal interpretation, according to which war is exclusively negative in its effects and peace is easily achieved through democratisation and free trade. In this view, modern liberal market democracies have outgrown violence, and only resort to it in self-defence. The second is a romantic, utopian view of violence. Transposed into political rhetoric, these two views are often directly opposed, as they are nowadays in Iraq and in the 'War on Terror'. Cramer's book forges an alternative way of understanding the role of violence in the transition to capitalism and a global economy.

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About the author (2006)

CHRISTOPHER CRAMER is Senior Lecturer in Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), having previously taught at Cambridge and in Mozambique. His influential article on which this book is based, 'Homo Economicus Goes to War', was published in World Development.

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