Of coffee and civil wars

Slate asks: Will there be blood?

In a recent paper, economists Oeindrila Dube and Juan Vargas
use data on Colombia’s decades-old civil war to show that the stakes
may be much higher for resource-dependent economies, where the ups and
downs of commodity markets can literally mean the difference between
war and peace.

How are commodities prices connected to civil
strife? Poor farmers impoverished by lower crop prices may be eager
recruits for rebel groups who can promise a better livelihood from
stolen loot than what the soil can provide (not to mention protection
from pillaging, since unaligned farmers may be easy prey for either
rebels or government troops). A cheaper cup of joe may thus translate
into conflict in the coffee-growing world. (It has, in fact, been suggested
that the mass murder in 1994 of perhaps 1 million Tutsis in Rwanda was
triggered by the 50 percent fall in the price of Arabica beans, the
economic lifeblood of Rwanda’s poor farmers.) (ARTICLE)

Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 1:15 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I like the new look of your blog and good link.

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