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The Dark Side of Globalization. The Vicious Cycle of Exploitation from World Market Integration: Lesson from the Congo


  • Andreas Exenberger


  • Simon Hartmann



The Congo region is one of the best examples of the negative consequences of world market integration (and hence globalization) in the world. Today?s Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is an almost ?perfectly? failing state ? although not necessarily with respect to a state?s function as a revenue machine for its rulers, but definitely with respect to almost all other state functions, including the most basic ones, like security or infrastructure provision for its people. However, the recent civil war was only the tip of an iceberg of a well-established system of structural violence, which is neither simply a result of post-colonial nor colonial heritage. Remarkably stable, it dates back to the very beginning of the integration of the Congo into the global economy. Since the first contact with Europeans, it has experienced a vicious cycle of exploitation that promotes violence and is driven by internal power relations but even more so by world market demands. While the object of these demands (slaves, ivory, rubber, copper, diamonds, coltan) changed over the centuries and decades, the structures of dependence and the patterns of exploitation did not change fundamentally. Hence, every effort to sustainably improve the economic, social and political conditions in the Congo, which are among the most devastating in the world, must take this heritage into account.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Exenberger & Simon Hartmann, "undated". "The Dark Side of Globalization. The Vicious Cycle of Exploitation from World Market Integration: Lesson from the Congo," Working Papers 2007-31, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  • Handle: RePEc:inn:wpaper:2007-31

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nicholas Staines, 2004. "Economic Performance Over the Conflict Cycle," IMF Working Papers 04/95, International Monetary Fund.
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    More about this item


    Congo (Democratic Republic of); resource war; exploitation; state failure; globalization;

    JEL classification:

    • F54 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Colonialism; Imperialism; Postcolonialism
    • N47 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Africa; Oceania
    • N57 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q34 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts


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    1. Economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Wikipedia English ne '')


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