Any of you who follow my posts know that I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus. Which brings to mind a topic in civil war research: economics.

Politics and economics are intimately related. And when conflict strikes a country, economics have a significant impact. There is quite a bit of research that suggests economically robust countries handle internal conflict more effectively, and are less likely to experience civil war, than their poorer counterparts.

But what about the flip side of that equation?

If a country – even one with a robust economy – experiences conflict for an extended period of time, their economy is bound to suffer. If your home is a war zone, will you still be reporting to your job as a postal worker? Grocery store clerk? Businessperson? Or will you consider the risk to your home and family more important, and emigrate?

True accounts from conflict scenarios show individuals exhibiting both behaviors. The economy changes during internal conflict, but not necessarily across the entire country. Economic impacts can affect the way that insurgent groups are perceived within a country, as well.

During the Mexican revolution, Protestants provided stipends to converts. Protestantism spread like wildfire – a result of many factors, but in part influenced by the economic support that converts received. The revolution was a religious one, and the Protestants aligned with the liberals; the liberals eventually won, and Protestants were viewed favorably for several years, until Carranza came to power.

Economic grievances can aggravate conflicts, and provide fuel to the fires of conflict. In some countries, small guerilla groups use this in their favor. FARC, for example, is thought to have provided education, healthcare, and economic support to rural Colombians, hence increasing their influence and reach.

Taxing without representation was a primary grievance in the American war for independence.

Knowing the importance of a healthy economy to state stability, is it reasonable to assume that the increased economic instability that results from internal political conflict can also lead to a great propensity for civil war? Is prolonged political violence within key economic centers of a country a notable factor in civil war onset? How do economic sanctions affect a country experiencing internal conflict?

How do those questions relate to current events?

Just a little food for thought…

I’ll be back in about a week – my day job is providing a bit more work than I can comfortably manage at the moment…



Kids Again

Very few advertisemens can vlaim a higher purpose than pure sales. Considering that the job which actually pays me – vice my academic love for the study of political violence – involves knowledge of sales and marketing techniques, I understand the mechanisms behind modern commercials.

And yet,  the Save the Children Syria Campaignstrikes me as amazing – it offers an educated glimpse into the toll of warfare on children. And it does more in under three minutes than some books do in 300 pages.

Mind = blown.

If you don’t want to see the ad part, but would love to see how they get the message across, just skip the last ~15 seconds of the clip.

I never imagined myself posting a commercial on this blog, but trust me. It’s worth seeing.

Friends of mine, in Kiev 2013. Photo courtesy of P. Filenko.

Friends of mine, in Kiev 2013. Photo courtesy of P. Filenko.

I’ve got contacts in Ukraine, and have contacted a guest blogger from Venezuela, as well. Keep an eye open for posts from people on site in the next few weeks. A view from the heart of conflict is a rarity in the academic world. Time to embrace it!