Thursday, 27 October 2011

Do military and para-military actions reduce civil unrest better than policies that foster more equality in society?

In "Redistribution, Inequality and Political Conflict", a paper quoted by The Economist and published on the website of the Households in Conflict Network, School of Social Sciences and Cultural Studies, University of Sussex, UK, Patricia Justino analyses the relationship between redistributive policies and civil unrest.

According to her, empirical data for 14 large Indian states during 1973-2000 shows that, in the medium-term, redistributive policies have been significantly more effective in reducing civil unrest in India than more direct solutions,
such as the use of police and military forces.

Further, putting the right (more equitable) policies in place also causes the economy to grow, whereas merely sending in the army/police produces negative results on economic growth.

The lesson is: where there is social unrest, RESIST the urge to send in the police and/ or the army.

Instead, put in place those policies (the rule of law, just taxation, investments in social and physical infrastructure...) which create greater equality and better sharing in the benefits of growth.

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