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
Hospitals and schools are being bombed in Syria. A U.N. inquiry is limited. We took a deeper look Malachy Browne, Christiaan Triebert, Evan Hill, Whitney Hurst, Gabriel Gianordoli and Dmitriy Khavin New York Times December 31, 2019
Lane Vanderslice December 31, 2019
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 economics 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.
The analytical view taken in this website is that through control of a society and its key elements of the society (economy, government, social system) some people/groups in the society obtain income from others. So, there are two basic aspects, maintaining control and obtaining income. This is expressed in the principal categories used in the website (can be seen on the left of each page). For control we have categories including Staying in power – Struggle for control and Harming People – Keeping People Oppressed. For obtaining income, we have Obtaining income through the government – rent seeking – corruption, Harm through the market, Discrimination: race – gender – ethnic – religious – class and Discrimination against women — gender inequality.
Staying in power/struggle for control 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.)
Vision of Humanity
average level of global peacefulness improved very slightly in 2019, for the
first time in five years, on the 2019 GPI. [However,] the average level of
global peacefulness has deteriorated by 3.78 per cent since 2008. Over that
period, 81 countries deteriorated in peacefulness, while 81 improved.
global economic impact of violence improved for the first time since 2012,
decreasing by 3.3 per cent or $475 billion from 2017 to 2018. The improvement
in the global economic impact of violence is largely due to the decrease in the
impact of Armed Conflict particularly in Iraq, Colombia and Ukraine, where the
impact of Armed Conflict decreased by 29 per cent to $672 billion in 2017. The
global economic impact of violence was $14.1 trillion PPP [ a measure of GDP which
takes account of differences in the purchasing power of various currencies; see
Wikipedia] in 2018, equivalent to
11.2 per cent of global GDP or $1,853 per person. Syria, Afghanistan and the
Central African Republic incurred the largest economic cost of violence in 2018
as a percentage of their GDP, equivalent to 67, 47 and 42 per cent of GDP,
respectively. In the ten countries most affected by violence, the average
economic cost was equivalent to 35 per cent of GDP, compared to 3.3 per cent in
the ten least affected.
gap between the least and most peaceful countries continues to grow. Since
2008, the 25 least peaceful countries declined on average by 11 per cent, while
the 25 most peaceful countries improved by 1.8 per cent on average. Conflict in
the Middle East has been the key driver of the global deterioration in
peacefulness. The indicator with the most widespread deterioration globally was
the terrorism impact indicator. Just over 63 per cent of countries recorded
increased levels of terrorist activity. However, the number of deaths from
terrorism has been falling globally since 2014.
An estimated 971 million people live in areas with high or very high climate change exposure [where climate change issues such as water scarcity can increase the probability of conflict], . Of this number, 400 million (41 per cent) reside in countries with already low levels of peacefulness.
Access the full report.
Global peacefulness improves but the world is less peaceful than a decade ago.
The world is slightly more peaceful than a year ago Laren Favre U.S. News and World Report June 13, 2019
The U.S. drops to No. 128 out of 163 countries studied due to increased violence, political instability and a weakening view of its leadership.
The Sahel in flames. Violence rips through West Africa causing crises in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso The New Humanitarian May 31, 2019
Photo: Barsalogho camp in Burkina Faso Credit: Philip Kleinfeld/The New Humanitarian
Five takeaways on the growing violence and its civilian toll:
Jihadist groups are manipulating inter-communal conflicts. They are exploiting the region’s ethnic fault lines to stir violence that can be far deadlier than anything the militants are doing directly themselves. In central Mali, the level of violence may now qualify as ethnic cleansing.
Governments have helped local militias thrive. Central governments have allowed and in some cases encouraged the proliferation of communal militia groups – decisions that are now coming home to roost as intercommunal conflicts rise.
Civilians look to jihadists for support the state doesn’t provide. Jihadist groups often understand the social grievances of local communities. A recent study by the peacebuilding charity International Alert attributes the rise in violent extremism in the Sahel to weak states rather than religious ideology.
Civilians are becoming casualties of security forces. These forces add to the insecurity by killing civilians during counter-terrorism operations. In Burkina Faso, military forces are killing three times more civilians than jihadists.
Displacement, food insecurity, and other humanitarian crises are escalating, but resources to respond are lacking. Some 5.1 million people require humanitarian assistance, and the new violence is “compounding” already existing needs and “threatening civilians’ lives and livelihoods”, a UN official said.