Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 25, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412979290 | Print ISBN: 9781412961424 | Online ISBN: 9781412979290| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this handbook
Chapter 78: Political Economy of Violence
Political economy of violence Long-term economic prosperity requires the existence of secure property rights. A resource, in the possession of an individual, can be characterized as secure property if that individual can exclude others from exploiting its use. So, as the fundamental instrument of exclusion, who should have recourse to violence? In a world where violence is a recognized margin of competitive adjustment available to all community members, a world of unorganized violence, an individual's exclusive right to use a resource is determined in large part by his or her ability to use naked violence to protect that resource from others. This fact creates an incentive for all community members to allocate scarce effort away from production and toward protection and/or predating on others—both of which undermine a community's potential for prosperity. A solution to this inefficient outcome is to structure a world of organized violence, a world where unorganized ...