Filomeno S. Sta.Ana III, writing in the September 1 issue of Business World’s Yellow Pad, discusses civil war from an economist’s perspective.
The Theory of Civil War
by Filomeno S. Sta. Ana III
1 September 2008
The armed struggle being waged by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is essentially a civil war. So was the armed resistance of the Moro National Liberation Front, (MNLF), which culminated in a political solution, the creation of a new, expanded regional autonomous government. The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) likewise describes its nationwide protracted armed struggle as a type of civil war.
Dictionary.com defines civil war as “a war between political factions or regions within the same country.” The Merriam-Webster’ s definition is “a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country.”
The Geneva conventions apply to “armed conflict not of an international character.” Why the Geneva Conventions use the aforesaid term, instead of simply saying civil war, is puzzling. At any rate, the Geneva Conventions’ restrictive definition of “armed conflict not of an international character” is one which occurs “in the territory of a High Contracting Party between its armed forces and dissident armed forces or other organized armed groups which, under responsible command, exercise such control over a part of its territory as to enable them to carry out sustained and concerted military operations.”
Academics generally associate civil war with battle deaths that exceed 1000 annually. Those with annual battle deaths that number at least 25 are called civil conflicts.
A civil war (or civil conflict) is very costly. The armed conflict in Mindanao has resulted in tens of thousands of casualties, destruction of property, incalculable productivity losses, breakdown of essential public services, and irreparable social trauma. The war in Mindanao has had heavy adverse effects not only for the Moros and other Mindanaoans but for all Filipinos—insecurity and uncertainty, high costs of political transaction, shift of resources from food to guns, and other opportunity costs.
One may thus expect contending parties to avoid war. Yet, since 1960, more than half of all nations (56 percent) have suffered violent conflict. Further, since 1960, a fifth of the nations have gone through at least 20 years of civil war. These are some of the startling facts from a paper co-authored by Christopher Blattman and Edward Miguel titled Civil War (for the Journal of Economic Literature, June 2008).
The Philippines has been experiencing a civil conflict for four decades. The re-established CPP launched its armed struggle upon the founding of the New People’s Army in 1969. The MILF armed struggle immediately intensified upon the imposition of Ferdinand Marcos’s martial law in 1972.
We cannot avoid asking the question: What triggers or causes a civil war or a civil conflict? Revolutionary groups—the CPP, the MNLF, and the MILF—use abstractions to justify their revolution—to correct historical injustices, fight colonialism, achieve national liberation. But these laudable goals can likewise be achieved though non-armed means.
Other less-abstract factors are at work to explain the causes of civil wars or conflicts. Poverty is typically cited as a leading cause of civil war. The literature shows a strong, robust relationship between low per capita income and high tendency for armed conflict. Nicholas Pambanis (Using Case Studies to Expand the Use of the Theory of Civil War, 2003) noted that the average per capita GDP of nations affected by a civil war from the period 1960-1999 was less than half that of nations with no internal armed conflicts.
Of course, the correlation does not establish the direction of the causality. Poverty creates conditions for armed conflict. But it is also true that the armed conflict impoverishes people, as investments and employment in war-torn areas fall and provision of public goods—health and nutrition, education, infrastructure— is disrupted.
The economic theory of civil war is developed in modeling rational motives and initial conditions that favor conflict. We know, for example, that poverty and geography (e.g., rugged terrain and wide forest cover) explain the propensity for a nation to engage in civil war. Economists have likewise modeled the competition for resources, the non-enforcement of contracts and property rights, and the failure of the ballot to explain civil war. Several studies show that civil war tends to occur in countries considered less democratic.
Pope Benedict blew his top over this sculpture by the late German artist Martin Kippenbuger. He said it was an insult to Jesus Christ.
Like this is not an even greater insult to Jesus Christ.
This is going to be a tough act to follow. Let’s see if the old coot can top this when he speaks next week.
Cynthia McKinney, former Democratic Party congresswoman from Georgia, unmasks her former party and finds that they look just like the Republicans.
Here is an excerpt from her speech to the Green Party in Denver, Colorado.
One of my favorite bloogers, Jesus’ General, changed the lyrics of the Eagle’s claasic hit “Life’s been good to me “ and turned it into a song about John McCain, nominee of the Rovepublicain Party for president.
Here’s the Eagles performing the original at a concert.
Here’s the new lyrics to the song.
Growing up, I would watch my parents’ reactions as they read the morning news. My mother would blow her top over the inanity and corruption of our country’s leadership. My father would break out a smile whenever he came across a person’s name that fit perfectly with whatever shenanigan he was being accused of or associated with.
The association game was a breakfast ritual. He would scour the papers, even the tiniest items, looking for “matches”. I told him many times he should make a collection and publish them. He never did. Too bad.
The affairs of the Sabio brothers reminded me of my father’s favorite breakfast pastime.
Sabio: – Cassell’s Spanish Dictionary defines it as “sage, wise, learned, sapient, knowing, cunning.”
All five meanings, specially the last, match the two brothers. If you’ve been following the unfolding story of the Sabio brothers you will see how they have moved progressively from sage to cunning.
And, of course, a lawyer by the name of Fernando Perito is nipping at the heels of Camilo Sabio, filing a disbarment case against the PCGG commissioner. Now Perito means a critical person but it is also a homonym for perrito a small dog.
Esperon: “long wait” and “ram”. The second meaning is part of nautical vocabulary.
Esperon’s successor, Gen. Yano, had to wait through two tour of duty extensions for Esperon before he was able to assume his post.
The second meaning, ram, applies to Esperon as well. He was one of the battering rams Gloria used in the 2004 presidential election. He was also the ram against the opposition during his tenure as AFP chief.
And the Deputy presidential spokeswhatever is called Lorelei Fajardo.
Wikipedia says: “Loreley (also written as Lorelei)is also the name of one of the beautiful Rhine Maidens who lured navigators of this river to their dooms with their alluring singing, much as the ancient Greek Sirens did. The name comes from the old German words “lureln” (Rhine dialect for “murmuring”) and the Celtic term “ley” (rock). The translation of the name would therefore be: “murmur rock” or “murmuring rock”. Other theories attribute the name to the many accidents, by combining the word “luren” (lurk) with the same “ley” ending, with the translation “lurking rock’”
Her last name Fajardo means “meat pie or patty.” I don’t really know what a meat pie has to do with her job but her first name is appropriate for her job. Reporters beware!
Arroyo: “rivulet, small river, stream, brook; watercourse of a street, gutter.”
Now that explains why this administration stinks, doesn’t it?
By the way, my column for today’s Business Mirror is, The unpalatable Joma. It is a “dressed-up for a business paper” version of my two earlier “for blogs only” posts on Joma.
Sison: “filcher, pilferer,petty thief; godwit or moor-cock.” You make the connection.
Dennis Kucinich, Democrat from Ohio, delivers a speech in a style that would make bible-thumping miracle workers look tame.
I’m not putting the man down, I love his rabble rousing style, it’s the way politicians used to orate before image- makers took over and told them that TV, being a cool medium, required a tone-down speaking style. Give ‘em hell, Dennis.
Raul Gonzalez in Business Mirror wrote:
“Charges ranging from kidnapping, murder, robbery, arson and other related offenses were finally filed by the Philippine National Police against Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commanders Umbra Kato and Bravo.
“I believe it is time to go full blast with the full force of the law against these MILF commanders who cause so much grief and damage in many Christian towns in North Cotabato as well as in Iligan City.”
“Full blast” would be to charge Kato and Bravo under the Human Security Act of 2007, better known as the anti-terror law.
They fall under the HSA because they kidnapped, murdered, robbed and burned “thereby sowing and creating a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace, in order to coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand.”
If those two MILF commanders are charged under the HSA, then the MILF leadership that said they will not surrender those commanders to lawful authorities can be charged as accessories.
What good will that do?
Under the HSA, the government can now conduct wiretaps, raids, look into bank accounts and financial transactions of the MILF, among other things.
That’s what “full blast” means. Anything less is just fool’s bluster.
A couple of days ago, we wrote a post about a statement from the Communist Party of the Philippines. “CPP calls for support to the Bangsamoro revolutionary struggle”. Communist Party of the Philippines, August 16, 2008.
The last paragraph of the CPP’s call to arms goes:
The CPP instructs the New People’s Army throughout the country to intensify tactical offensives against the fascist armed forces as a concrete step to support the resumption of the revolutionary armed struggle of the Bangsamoro as well as to take advantage of the present preoccupation of the enemy forces in fending off the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces.
Now here comes Joma with a new statement in another one of his websites where he disowns his call to arms.
Contrary to the propaganda issued by the psywar experts of the Arroyo regime, I am not in any position to issue orders to the New People’s Army (NPA) to undertake tactical offensives in sympathy with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). My role as NDFP chief political consultant is assisting peace negotiations and not issuing military orders to the NPA.
Teka muna Joma, sino ba si Armando Liwanag na chairman ng CPP, hindi ba ikaw din yun?
Naknamputanaman. Chairman Armando Liwanag kung may order, Consultant Joma kung kailangan tumanggi.
1. On McCain’s greasy political associates
The basis of the above ad is an e-mail invitation from Reed for a “special event” for McCain that he and his wife were hosting at the Marriot Marquis in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.