Conflict is an essential element, probably the most important one, in creating societies where exploitation is important. It is easy to see in the past: one group or nation conquered another and put those conquered in a subsidiary status, taking their land, taxing them and placing them in an inferior position through various means. (See the exploitation sections in Understanding exploitation, especially conflict theory, some economic historians, and primitive accumulation in the exploitation in Marxism section.) These patterns frequently continue into the present, in (usually) weakened, but still present, form. Conflict can also arise when people who are oppressed fight for their freedom.
Conflict, even narrowly defined, is an important activity. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates world military expenditure at $1.8 trillion in 2017, or 2.1 percent of global gross domestic product (SIPRI 2019). It does use resources that can be devoted to productive activity.
The drastic worsening of peoples’ lives is the second major source of harm from conflict. The global population of forcibly displaced increased by 2.3 million people in 2018. By the end of the year, almost 70.8 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations. They have moved from normal lives to the bleakness and hopelessness of a refugee situation.
U.N. Court orders Myanmar to protect Rohingya MuslimsRichard C. PaddockNew York Times January 23, 2020 The International Court of Justice said Myanmar must “take all measures within its power” to prevent its military or others from carrying out genocidal acts against the Rohingya, who it said faced “real and imminent risk.”
Conflict is an essential element, probably the most important one, in creating societies where exploitation is important. It is easy to see in the past: one group or nation conquered another and put those conquered in a subsidiary status, taking their land, taxing them and placing them in an inferior position through various means. These patterns frequently continue into the present, in (usually) weakened, but still present, form. Conflict can also arise when people who are oppressed fight for their freedom. Also see Conflict
Exploitation and oppression continued to play a major role in the world in 2019. Standard economics principally looks at income obtained from production. This website looks at income or other benefit gained by harming others. We prefer the term harm, as being correct and also indicating a range of behavior. Types of harm in a society may not rise to the level where they could reasonably be termed exploitation and oppression. Harm, no matter the term(s) used is much more important than suggested by standard economics1. This follows Kenneth Boulding in The Economy of Love and Fear. Boulding distinguishes not only the productive economy but also the grants economy, which consists of two parts: exploitative grants from threats or ignorance, and integrative grants from love or kindness. In Boulding’s terms, this is an exploitative grant. A principal aspect of this website is publishing links to articles that describe a current aspect of harm in the United States or elsewhere; this is reviewed here.
An important part of the struggle for control is between democratic/popular forces that want to expand human rights and opportunities and those who want to restrict access to key rights and opportunities to their group. HE published a summary of what Freedom House had to say about 2018. Here is an excerpt from that summary. (2019 report not yet available.)
Gender Development Index 2018United Nations Development Program “The GDI measures gender gaps in human development achievements by accounting for disparities between women and men in three basic dimensions of human development—health, knowledge and living standards using the same component indicators as in the HDI…. It is a direct measure of gender gap showing the female HDI as a percentage of the male HDI.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists tracks Journalists killed, missing and imprisoned under CPI Data. There were 50 journalists killed during 2019, with 64 missing and 250 imprisoned at the end of 2019, according to their records. CPJ Alerts reported over 380 specific attacks on journalists and publications in 2019.