corruption is a blockage to reconstruction and peace, are perhaps especially vulnerable. Numerous examples exist of how rife corruption is in post-war reconstruction periods, such ashas been observed in Cambodia, Lebanon, Angola, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Iraq, and as discussedfurther below, Liberia (Large 2004; DeVine 2004). Corruption as a feature of countriesrecovering from conflict becomes integral to reconstruction efforts when functioning as a rootcause of a conflict or as a key factor perpetuating the war economy of a conflict. Corruption of the petty kind can stimulate a sense of grievance at the microlevel of communities, such as in blocked access to economic, political, or even education opportunities, or when exploitation insocial relations erodes the linkage between ability, hard work, and reward (Large 2004, quotingRichards 2003). Corruption of the grand kind can contribute to conflict when competition for control of resource extraction industries through state apparatuses by aspiring elites fails.Factions may perceive the opportunity of resource capture or creating a monopoly throughviolence as an attractive alternative for achieving their economic goals (Le Billon 2003; Collier 2000). Within the context of reconstruction efforts, corruption is perhaps best viewed assymptomatic of the institutional failures or underlying opportunism of ‘conflict entrepreneurs’,and not as the disease itself. This is important to reconstruction efforts that must address theexceptional circumstances of the causes of conflict, where barriers to economic growth take a particularly salient quality.It is widely acknowledged that the majority of violent conflicts
world-wide since the end of the Cold War have been within states rather than between states. Approximately 90% of thecasualties in civil conflicts are women and children (Gantzel 1997; UNDP 1994). Recentliterature on contemporary violent conflict and war reject notions of conflict as a regressivecollapse into chaos driven by mechanistic forces. Instead, while violent conflict and war havedefinite discoverable causes, they are viewed as organic processes involving a range of playerswho constitute new and competing arrangements of power, legitimacy, and livelihood. These players include governments, rebel groups, local warlords and strongmen, ethnic groups, andcriminal organizations, as well as donors, NGOs, private companies, and private security forces.Market deregulation, structural adjustment programs, and foreign aid have created a context inwhich governments, rebel or militia groups, criminal, and terrorist networks can control aid, populations, territories, resources, and illicit trade for profitable ends. Violent conflict ofteninvolves attrition, terror, and human rights abuses against civilians. Violence is frequentlycarried out by the youngest members of a population, facilitated at times by the media (e.g.Kellow and Steeves 1999) and an abundant and accessible supply of small arms. In thesecontexts of conflict, power and legitimacy is based on violent control rather than popular consent(Macrae 2002; Duffield 2001; Kaldor 1999; Holsti 1996).Liberia’s civil conflict exemplifies the type of post-Cold War internal conflicts describedabove. Established as a republic by freed U.S. slaves in 1847, Liberia’s government wasdominated by Americo-Liberian descendents of the original settlers through the True WhigParty. In 1980, Samuel Doe staged a successful
that ended 133 years of de facto one party rule by Americo-Liberians. While Liberia did not develop significantly outside of thecapital Monrovia, the Doe regime of the 1980s worsened conditions in the country. Under Doe’s
Though the term can have a wider meaning, conflict in this proposal is defined as i) political violence, ii) ethnicviolence, and iii) civil conflict. Synonyms of this last definition used in this proposal include ‘internal conflict’,‘armed conflict’, or ‘violent conflict’.