February 25, 2008
Lootable Wealth and Disorder
At our recent Chicago discussion of Financial Globalization and Human Rights, I was recently reminded of Richard Snyder's paper Does Lootable Wealth Breed Disorder? which appeared in Comparative Political Studies in October 2006. Snyder explains, in a simple unified framework, why some resource rich economies end up like Myanmar (repressive and stable) while others end up being like Sierra Leone (civil war and unstable). Snyder is focused on lootable resources, those for which there are low barriers to entry; in contrast with oil or minerals that require large scale fixed investments, the state cant easily monopolize lootable resources and so must ally with private businesses. Myanmar's narco-military regime is a good example. The generals, of course, also have natural gas which fits to more convention resource curse story. In any case, the piece is highly recommended.
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