Civil wars and the conflict trap

May 24th, 2021

Last week in class, we had two contents. The first one was a discussion about a conflict and the other one was Jason's presentation about the conflict trap.

First, we had a discussion. One of the questions was why people are fighting in the countries which have civil wars right now. Some students said that they are in a war because of their religious differences and ethnic differences. One student added to it saying that people in these countries started the conflict because they against the incompetent government. In the end, we agreed that, although civil war is a war that happens inside of one country, there are some cases that other countries try to intervene in it. Some of these cases might be called a proxy war.

Another question was "is a conflict more common for poor people or rich people?" All students agreed that they think it is more common for poor people because conflicts are caused by poverty, lack of infrastructure, and unstable economic systems. One student also said that rich people can live without associating with others, so they can prevent being conflicted.

Next, about Jason’s presentation. His presentation theme was “Most Wars are Civil Wars.” First, Jason asked us “Why do people love to make a group?”. The group is for example club, religion, black and white, and so on in here. For instance, club activities make groups and they can conflict to get more money support more than other clubs. And he told us about economics and war. There was a picture which had maybe five poor people. It means in Thailand, there are some beautiful streets which have nice food shops and markets, but two or more behind the street, the scene changes, and they are slums. Then, he talked about a risk which is the possibility of war. Some countries which have a small GDP per capita, have a 6.8% chance that they will suffer a civil war each year.

On the other hand, OECD countries have only a 0.45% chance. It means that OECD countries have a 15 times less chance than other countries which have small GDP. Next, about the conflict trap. It is endless. As we mentioned earlier, conflicts are more common for poor people because of not enough education, infrastructure, moving expenses, military, and so on, but it is not positive peace, it is negative peace. On the other hand, rich people can run away from conflict. One time a civil war breaks out, the probability of another one breaks out rises more than 44%. And he also said it is important to think about how we keep people healthy in such countries.