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The Handbook of Global Security Policy by Mary Kaldor, Iavor Rangelov

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Chapter 10 Natural Resources and Insecurity

Anouk S. Rigterink

Introduction

Over the past twenty years, terms such as “natural resource curse”, “natural resource trap” and “blood diamond” have been added to our vocabulary, all illustrating that natural resources adversely affect countries that possess such “riches” in large amounts. Natural resources are said to be associated with bad economic performance, undemocratic regime types, and civil conflict (Collier and Hoeffler, 2004; Sachs and Warner, 2001; Ross, 2001). This chapter will explore the last relationship by reviewing theoretical and empirical literature on whether natural resources cause insecurity.

As this literature is extensive, and the supposed negative effects of natural resources are many, setting some boundaries and definitions is in order. For the purpose of this chapter, insecurity is taken to mean insecurity stemming from physical violence by a politically organized actor. On a country level, this is commonly translated as the risk of civil war onset, although it is also interpreted as the intensity of (political) violence. This focus on the political excludes criminal violence, although it often proves difficult to distinguish the two, as the World Development Report 2011 (World Bank, 2011) highlights. Defining security as the absence of physical violence excludes other important dimensions of security. The Human Development Report 1994 (United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 1994) distinguishes six ...

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