Pathways to State Failure: Greed or Grievance

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International Journal of Terroism and Political Hot Spots





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Of the many proponents of the greed trumps grievance argument, these scholars have argued that measures of social grievance, such as inequality, a lack of democracy, and ethnic and religious divisions, have had little systematic effect on the risk of civil war (Berdal and Malone, 2000; Collier, 2007; Collier, 2009; Collier and Hoeffler, 2004; Collier and Sambanis, 2005;Hoeffler, 2011). They go on to find that it is primarily the financial viability; i.e., greed motivates rebel organizations. This research does not reject this collection of findings. Instead, we evaluate a similar dynamic and the role greed and grievance play in the occurrence of the phenomenon of state failure. While the dynamics of state failure and civil war share similarities, state failure scholars have found there are unique precursors and features of state failure which distinguish this phenomenon from ethnic and civil conflicts. Further, research on state failure illustrates that this phenomenon encompasses a multitude of factors, all of which have a devastating impact on the state and far reaching implications that extend beyond the impact of civil conflict. Consequently, this analysis investigates the greed versus grievance argument from the lens of state failure. The findings of this research suggest that both social grievances and the opportunity for greed can contribute to a state‘s failure.

Controlled Subject

Failed states; International relations and terrorism; Terrorism--Prevention


Other Political Science | Politics and Social Change | Terrorism Studies

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