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KidnapInside the Ransom Business$
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Anja Shortland

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198815471

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198815471.001.0001

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The Protector’s Choice

The Protector’s Choice

(p.37) 3 The Protector’s Choice

Anja Shortland

Oxford University Press

When does a protector permit and facilitate the kidnapping of outsiders? Protecting criminals can be very lucrative. Effective protection increases the returns to crime and the protector can extract that surplus. Yet, engaging in crime and cooperation with criminal groups can undermine the legitimacy of the protector among the ruled and disrupt other taxable economic activities. Moreover, the protector risks being challenged by the criminals if their business becomes unexpectedly profitable. This chapter uses the example of Somali piracy to show that protectors only facilitate criminal activities if there is a net benefit from doing so. Usually, crime is only an attractive revenue source in economically remote areas and when the protector needs money to fight political or territorial challenges.

Keywords:   governance without government, Somalia, protection, piracy, rational choice, cost–benefit analysis

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