The Role of Economic Interdependence in the Origins and Resolution of Conflict
The historic debate about the relationship between economic interdependence and conflict has intensified in recent years with two schools of thought dominating the discussion. One school argues that increased levels of economic interdependence encourage good political relationships and wards off possible conflict. The opposing school of thought suggests that excessive interdependence may actually create resentment, intensify rivalry and, ultimately, political discontent leading to conflict. This paper examines the main contributions to the debate and then explores the role of economic interdependence in two different conflict scenarios – Africa and the Balkans. Only recently has the relationship between economic interdependence and conflict scenarios received rigorous empirical analysis and the results so far have failed to reach any kind of consensus. We are left to conclude, therefore, that while economic interdependence may not be a “silver bullet” guaranteed to pacify all interstate conflicts, it may help constrain the conflict escalation process to good effect.
Volume (Year): 122 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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