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War, Hunger, and Displacement: Volume 2$
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E. Wayne Nafziger, Frances Stewart, and Raimo Väyrynen

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198297406

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198297406.001.0001

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Weak States and Humanitarian Emergencies: Failure, Predation, and Rent-Seeking

Weak States and Humanitarian Emergencies: Failure, Predation, and Rent-Seeking

(p.437) 14 Weak States and Humanitarian Emergencies: Failure, Predation, and Rent-Seeking
War, Hunger, and Displacement: Volume 2


Oxford University Press

Complex humanitarian emergencies are always assumed to be the end results of impersonal forces – such as economic stagnation, political decay, and natural disasters – which bring the nation to the edge of disasters and catastrophes. This may be true, but it may be inferred that the emergencies are worsened by deliberate political and military actions. Human security is being threatened by such, but it is also affected by the human beings' search for political and economic gains. This chapter presents the idea that humanitarian crisis happens in societies wherein the state is weak and the elites are greedy to pursue their own interests. This means that there is a need to explore not only the economic sources, but also the politics of the economic sources of humanitarian emergencies. The chapter also presents different forms of state failure, rent seeking, and predation in an effort to understand the theoretical and practical roles in bringing about a humanitarian emergency.

Keywords:   humanitarian emergency, politics, predation, rent seeking, state failure

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