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Te Journal of Politics

and International Afairs
Volume VII, Issue I
Spring 2014
Te Ohio State University
Allison Gorman
Managing Editor for Content
Marcus Andrews
Communications Director
Sam Whipple
Marketing Director
Holly Yanai
Recruitment Chair
Jim Schirmer
Layout Editor
JPIA Editorial Staf
Cormac Bloomfeld
Will Heinrichs
Emily Noble
Robert Reed
Nima Dahir
Cassidy Horton
Evan Rogers
Rosie Izzi Todd Ives
A special thanks to our faculty advisors, Dr. Paul A. Beck and Alicia Anzivine, and Te Ohio State
Department of Political Science Chair, Dr. Richard Herrmann, for guiding us and making this
journal possible.
Te Journal of Politics
and International Afars
Volume VII | Issue I | Spring 2014 | Print Edition
Bootleggers and Baptists in the Shale Gas Revolution
Saayee Arumugam, Te Ohio State University
Producing (and Contesting) Gentrifcation in Mumbai:
Urbanization, Displacement, and Resistance in a Global City
Timothy Adams, Te Ohio State University
Te Demographic Crisis in Russia
Anna Dean, Te Ohio State University
Somali Development Crisis: The Neoliberal Subject and the
Creation of a New Somalia
Bradley Hinger, Te Ohio State University
Te Journal of Politics and Internaltional Afairs at Te Ohio State University is published biannually through the Ohio State
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All assertions of fact and statements of opinion are solely those of the authors. Tey do not necessarily represent or refect the views of
the JPIA Editorial Board, the Faculty Advisors, Te Ohio State University, nor its faculty and administration.
Editorial Foreword
Rosie Izzi Todd Ives
It is our great pleasure as the new Co Editors-in-Chief to present our frst edition of the Journal of Politics and
International Afairs. Tis issue features the excellent work of a diverse set of Ohio State students, who have
composed thorough, concise, unique, and well-written work to feature in our journal. Te editorial staf must
be commended for their exceptional work in selecting and editing papers, promoting the journal, and having
patience as we navigate the learning curves of taking over as Editors-in-Chief.
For this edition, the Journal received many great submissions from across the country, but only four papers
submitted by talented OSU students were chosen by our team of editors to be featured in this issue. As part of
our goal of growing the Journal’s readership base and name across the country, we have increased our online
presence on social media and worked with other organizations in the Political Science Department to increase
outreach to students.
As always, we are forever indebted to our wonderful Political Science Department for their support and
backing throughout JPIA’s inception. We would particularly like to thank Dr. Rick Herrmann for his belief and
encouragement of the Journal, Dr. Paul Beck for his role as advisor for the Journal, and Alicia Anzivine for her
assistance and guidance in our work.
Finally, we would like to thank you, the reader for making this project meaningful. Our peers at Ohio State and
across the country continue to produce extraordinary work that deserves to be showcased.
Rosie Izzi and Todd Ives
Bootleggers and Baptists in the Shale Gas Revolution
Saayee Arumugam
ABSTRACT. Recent advancements in directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing have caused a boom in shale gas
production. Simultaneously, environmental regulation has increased. Consequently, the coal industry is losing market
share of the nation’s energy portfolio. Coal interests contend increased regulation is part of a greater “war on coal”
waged by liberal political interests. While environmentalists overtly push for tighter regulations, the natural gas indus-
try covertly provides charitable support to ensure regulations are implemented, through which competition from coal
is limited. Environmentalists and gas interests have the same ends for very different reasons.
This study applies the “Bootleggers and Baptists” theory of regulation to discover the true driver behind the “war on
1. Introduction
The recent boom in natural gas production has redefned the energy industry. Simultaneously,
growing concern about climate change has fueled environmental policy debate. Economists, and the
public at large, have a vested interest in understanding the implications of these seemingly clashing
developments. While at face value it may seem that natural gas executives and environmentalists
are at odds, they may in fact share common ends. This paper will examine the relationship between
the regulatory policies sought by environmentalists and their impacts on the natural gas industry.
Do these seemingly opposing parties actually share a common end?
The question is a pressing one. Natural gas burns cleaner and more effciently than coal, which
currently controls market share of the nation’s energy portfolio. As stricter emissions regulations
are enforced, coal’s grip on market share will slip. Then, intuitively, the natural gas industry has an
incentive to expedite this process. Are environmentalists providing politicians with a moral high
ground as the natural gas industry quietly pads political war chests and secretly reaps the economic
benefts of competition-limiting regulation? The natural gas industry and environmentalists may
ft the paradigm of the bootleggers and Baptists coalition—different actors who want the same
ends for very different reasons (DeSombre 1995). I will apply Bruce Yandle’s “bootleggers and
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Baptists” theory of regulation to address the aforementioned question.
In Section 2-I, I discuss the signifcance of the recent shale gas boom by reviewing existing
literature. Later, Section 2-II delves into the bootleggers and Baptists theory of regulation and
establishes grounds by which the theory could explain the relationship between the natural gas
industry and environmentalists. Section 3 provides a null hypothesis and empirical analysis
utilizing public statements from politicians, lobbying disclosures, and records of campaign
donations. Section 4 concludes.
2. Literature Review
I. Background on Shale Gas Development
Hydraulic fracturing, popularly known as fracking, has recently become an important and
contentious topic in the United States. The process of fracking is nothing new; it dates back to the
1940s. It is a process of natural gas extraction in which water, chemicals and sand are pumped into
a well at high pressures, which fractures the surrounding rock. These cracks are propped open by
the sand or other proppants, which frees up trapped natural gas to fow from the fractures and be
captured at the production well. In recent years, the advancement of directional horizontal drilling
has allowed production of oil and gas in deep, shale rock formations previously thought to be too
impermeable for commercial development (Kulander 2013). This set the stage for the modern day
shale gas revolution.
Natural gas production has soared in recent years, rising from approximately 16 trillion cubic
feet (tcf) in 1990 to over 22 tcf in 2010 (Tomain 2013). This has caused natural gas prices to
decline and converge with coal prices. With such a boom, natural gas is capturing greater market
share of the nation’s energy portfolio. In the electricity sector alone, natural gas has claimed about
30 percent of the market, while coal-fred electricity has declined from 50 percent to 42 percent
(Tomain 2013). Figure 1 and Figure 2 below documents this shift in market share (data collected
from United States Energy Information Administration):
Old coal plants are retiring, and new projects face extensive review. This decline in coal is
largely due to increased regulation and closer scrutiny by state regulators. States have become
reluctant to approve construction of new coal plants due to the risk of dramatically increased utility
rates that might result from national regulations and climate legislation (Powers 2010).
When natural gas combusts, the amount of carbon dioxide produced is half that produced
from coal combustion. Additionally, the externalities tied to coal combustion, including emissions
of mercury, sulfur, and nitrous oxides, are all absent in natural gas combustion (Rao 2012). As a
cleaner fuel, regulatory compliance costs for gas-fred power are lesser than costs for coal-fred
power. By extension, natural gas interests leverage regulations to limit market competition from
coal. Tighter emissions regulations enable natural gas to squeeze market share from coal.
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II. Bootleggers and Baptists Theory of Regulation
Yandle derived his bootleggers and Baptists theory of regulation from stories of states’
attempts to regulate alcoholic beverages by banning legal vendors from selling on Sundays.
Baptists vehemently supported this policy to stop consumption of demon rum on Sundays. They
endorsed such regulation on moral high ground. Bootleggers sought to limit competition, and
thus tolerated the Baptists’ actions. Note it is not the broad Baptist principle, but the details of
regulation that win the covert endorsement of bootleggers. For instance, bootleggers would not
support limits on consumption, whereas Baptists would (Yandle 1983). A piece of regulation can
be crafted such that it limits competition, yet gives the impression that it serves the public interest
(Yandle 1983). Bootleggers who expect to proft from regulations sought by Baptists are vital to
the process as they “grease the political machinery with expected proceeds” (Yandle 1999).
The bootleggers and Baptists theory has often been applied to cases of environmental
regulation, especially emissions policies. The scrubber regulations in the 1977 Clean Air Act ft
the paradigm. All new coal-fred electric plants were required to be ftted with costly scrubbers,
whether or not the plant burned dirty coal. Environmentalists, representing the Baptists, provided
strong public support for such regulation, while interest groups tied to high-sulfur coal production
quietly supported the regulation. Low-sulfur coal interests and consumers of electricity suffered,
while high-sulfur coal interests captured positive returns from evening competition and claimed
market share (Yandle 1999). This example provides a framework for the bootleggers and Baptists
paradigm in the modern shale gas boom.
3. Hypothesis and Empirical Analysis
I. Hypothesis
The null hypothesis holds that no connection exists between the overt activities of
environmentalists and covert actions of the natural gas industry to secure a common end. The
alternative hypothesis supports the existence of the bootleggers and Baptists paradigm in which
a connection exists. This model assumes for all intents and purposes, environmentalists overtly
support policies reducing harmful emissions. In order to reject the null hypothesis, I must prove
that environmentalists provided the moral high ground for politicians to support regulation, while
the natural gas industry covertly “greases the political machinery” to ensure regulations are
II. Empirical Analysis
On June 25, 2013, President Barack Obama delivered his frst major speech, while in offce
on climate change. He remarked:
“So today, for the sake of our children, and the health and safety of all Americans, I’m
directing the Environmental Protection Agency to put an end to the limitless dumping of
carbon pollution from our power plants, and complete new pollution standards for both
new and existing power plants. (Obama 2013)”
The increase in emissions regulation is explicitly justifed using rhetoric rooted in
environmentalism. This satisfes the frst condition to reject the null hypothesis—politicians utilize
environmentalism to take up moral high ground in pushing regulations.
In Section 2-I, I have shown that the natural gas industry benefts from increased regulation
over carbon and toxic air emissions. As a cleaner burning fuel, natural gas interests bear fewer
compliance costs than coal interests. Thus, gas captures greater market share in the energy portfolio
(Rao 2012). Logically, natural gas interests would favor harsher restrictions on emissions.
Evidence suggests this holds true in practice. According to lobbying disclosures, the
Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) spent $1,400,000 on lobbying 2013.
INGAA declared “climate change mitigation” among their listed focuses, spending $280,000 on
the issue. Additionally, the American Natural Gas Alliance’s third top recipient of funding was
the Democratic Governors Association, which received nearly $126,000 in 2012. Most strikingly,
fracking interests, mainly from Chesapeake Energy, donated $26 million to the Sierra Club for
the “Beyond Coal” campaign from 2007-2010. In that time, the Sierra Club engaged in political
lobbying and actively produced anti-coal literature and documentaries.
Table A below lists U.S. Senators heralded by the League of Conservation Voters as the most
pro-environment politicians in the 112th Congress. Table A also shows the amount of campaign
contributions these Senators received from pro-fracking interests in election cycles from 2004-
2012 (two cycles at most).
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Te Journal of Politics and International Afairs | Spring 2014
Table A – Most Pro-Environment Senators and Campaign Donations from Fracking Interests
Senator State Party Campaign Donations 04’-12’
Boxer CA D $6,650
Feinstein CA D $74,800
Bennet CO D $103,895
Udall, M CO D $69,850
Carper DE D $25,800
Coons DE D $2,000
Nelson FL D $18,000
Durbin IL D $12,000
Harkin IA D $13,500
Cardin MD D $22,885
Mikulski MD D $2,000
Levin, C. MI D $29,000
Franken MN D $3,000
Klobuchar MN D $7,000
Reid, H. NV D $30,250
Shaheen NH D $4,750
Menendez NJ D $20,900
Udall, T. NM D $19,800
Gillibrand NY D $23,500
Schumer NY D $16,350
Brown OH D $12,000
Merkley OR D $1,000
Wyden OR D $16,050
Reed, J. RI D $2,000
Whitehouse RI D $5,300
Johnson, Tim SD D $29,950
Leahy VT D $0
Sanders VT I $1,500
Cantwell WA D $5,750
Murray WA D $8,250
Rockefeller WV D $47,400
It is evident that natural gas interests are, indeed, quietly supporting politicians who push for
increased environmental regulation, as documented in Table A.
III. Results
Two conditions were satisfed to reject the null hypothesis and suggest that the bootleggers
and Baptists theory of regulation is applicable to the shale gas boom. First, it is accepted truth that
environmentalists overtly lobby for stricter environmental regulations. As illustrated, politicians
use rhetoric evoking environmentalist themes in defending such regulation. Second, I have shown
that the natural gas industry covertly supports these regulations. The private lobbying activities
of the industry, including its campaign contributions to staunch environmentalists in the Senate,
support this claim. The environmentalists, ftting the Baptists’ role, provide the public justifcation
for politicians to sell to constituents. Meanwhile, the industry, ftting the bootleggers’ role, quietly
endorses these regulations and pads campaign war chests, thereby securing durable regulation and
private returns.
4. Conclusion
The environmentalists and natural gas industry have the same ends, but for very different
reasons. While the environmentalists are concerned with mitigating environmental concerns for
posterity’s sake, the natural gas industry is concerned with the private benefts of capturing coal’s
market share in the US energy portfolio. The two actors, seemingly at odds like bootleggers
and Baptists, have formed an unexpected coalition that has been successful in securing durable
regulations benefting both parties.
The bootleggers and Baptists model is a perpetual paradigm. In the long run, as natural
gas captures greater market share from coal, gas interests will face diminishing gains from the
bootleggers and Baptists relationship. Despite diminishing returns, bootleggers will continue their
rent-seeking in order to capture share within the gas market. Large frms can shoulder the burden
of high compliance costs unlike small frms. Hence, larger gas frms will seek competition-limiting
environmental regulation, capturing market share from smaller frms. The perpetual bootleggers
and Baptists paradigm will lead to economic consolidation among gas producers.
The bootleggers and Baptists coalition is, by nature, one that goes unnoticed. Scholars have
to look beyond what is easily seen. More often than not, durable regulation, as exemplifed by the
standards on coal emissions, is belied by bootleggers and Baptists working in tandem.
Bootleggers and Baptists in the Shale Gas Revolution
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Te Journal of Politics and International Afairs | Spring 2014
“America’s Natural Gas Alliance.” Opensecrets RSS.
“Database: Fracking Industry Contributions to 113th Congress.” Citizens For Responsibility and
Ethics in Washington.
DeSombre, Elizabeth. 1995. “Baptists and Bootleggers for the Environment: The Origins of
United States Unilateral Sanctions.” The Journal of Environment and Development 4(1).
“Interstate Natural Gas Assn of America.” 2014. Opensecrets RSS.
Kulander, Christopher. 2013. “Shale Oil and Gas State Regulatory Issues and Trends.” Case
Western Reserve Law Review 63(4). 10001-1041.
League of Conservation Voters. 2012 National Environmental Scorecard. League of
Conservation Voters.
Obama, Barack. 2013. “’We Need to Act’: Transcript of Obama’s Climate Change Speech.”
Bloomberg. 25 June.
Powers, Melissa. 2010. “The Cost of Coal: Climate Change and The End Of Coal As A Source
Of “Cheap” Electricity.” University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law 12(2). 407-
Rao, Vikram. 2012. Shale Gas: The Promise and the Peril. Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI.
Tomain, Joseph. 2013. “Shale Gas and Clean Energy Policy.” Case Western Reserve Law
Review 63(4). 1187-1215.
Yandle, Bruce. 1983. “Bootleggers and Baptists - The Education of a Regulatory Economist.”
Regulation 7(1). 12-16.
Yandle, Bruce. 1999. “Bootleggers and Baptists in Retrospect.” Regulation 22(1) 5-7.
Saayee Arumugam is a third year undergrad majoring in economics and political science.
As an ardent student of public choice theory and regulatory economics, he specifcally applies
economic theory in the realm of politics. Arumugam aspires to enter the policymaking arena,
specializing in environmental and energy policy.
Producing (and Contesting) Gentrifcation in Mumbai: Urbanization, Displacement, and Resistance in a Global City
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Producing (and Contesting) Gentrifcation in Mumbai:
Urbanization, Dislacement and Resistance in a Global
Timothy Adams
ABSTRACT. Mumbai, the rapidly growing hub of Indian fnance capital, has been the locus of dramatic changes in
urban governance over the last several decades. Once characterized by industrial production ad India’s mass working
class movements, the state, private capital, and middle class residents of Mumbai are struggling to redefne the city in
line with prevailing discourses of middle and upper-class conspicuous consumption and leisure. Practices of gentrif-
cation -- the class-based transformation of urban space--have been essential to this physical and discursive remaking
of the city, involving the wide-scale demolition and redevelopment of miles of informal and low-income housing, re-
ferred to derogatorily as “slums,” and displacement of countless thousands of desperately poor residents. However, far
from being helpless victims of an impregnable neoliberal juggernaut, slum residents and allies have organized to resist
gentrifcation and demand more equitable housing conditions. This interplay of contesting interests among varying
social scales and across institutions has been a defning characteristic of gentrifcation in Mumbai. Studying this exam-
ple can provide us with a greater understanding of displacement and strategies of resistance in our own communities.
Gentrifcation, or the class-based restructuring of urban space, has been transformed from a
relatively isolated phenomenon contained to the advanced capitalist countries of the Global North
to a generalized strategy of capital accumulation commonly utilized by the bourgeoning cities of
Asia, South America and Africa. In Mumbai, a newly emerging hub of global fnance, gentrifcation
has involved the disruptive and violent appropriation of working class and slum communities and
a cultural struggle over the identity of the city itself. Although the urban state and private capital
have been key actors in producing gentrifcation, the formal and informal strategies of resistance
utilized by those facing displacement, in addition to the advocacy of the middle and upper-classes
who desire gentrifcation, have fundamentally shaped the changes that have taken place. As I will
show, the processes of gentrifcation in Mumbai have not been exclusively hierarchical or diffuse;
rather, it has been a heterarchical process, enrolling individuals at all social scales in both the
production and contestation of urban governance.
In 1964, urban sociologist Ruth Glass identifed a peculiar spatial trend (Hackworth and
Smith 2001). Middle and upper-class individuals, who had previously been confned principally
to suburban communities, were purchasing and renovating houses in sites of severe poverty and
capital divestment, increasing property values and displacing the poor residents. She termed this
process “gentrifcation,” referring to transformation of city spaces by the “landed gentry.” Urban
scholars refer to this upgrading of poor neighborhoods through the individual renovation of houses
by wealthy individuals as second-wave gentrifcation (Smith 2002).
Many urban scholars have expanded their understanding of gentrifcation beyond the
limited set of second-wave practices identifed by Glass nearly 70 years ago. They now recognize
gentrifcation to be a broad set of processes centering on the class-based transformation of urban
space (Hackworth and Smith 2001; Smith 2002). This includes not only the physical restructuring of
urban space – the construction of new commercial buildings, hip sites of leisure and entertainment,
and high-quality housing – but also a discursive reimagining of the culture of cities and those
who may legitimately reside within them (Hackworth and Smith 2001; Smith 2002; Fernandes
2004). This is clear in the development of the megacities of South Asia, especially Mumbai.
Located on a peninsula in the western coast of India, Mumbai is an incredibly large and populous
city, with over 16 million residents and a staggering population density of 24,000 people per square
kilometer (Nijman 2010). Mumbai’s immense population has resulted in signifcant and systematic
housing problems for more than a century (Nijman 2010). The most signifcant example of this
is the prevalence of slums, defned broadly as destitute communities characterized by informal
housing and employment.
Over the last few decades, Mumbai has attempted to reconstitute itself as a site of global
fnance and culture, elite leisure, and urban modernity (Fernandes 2004). However, nearly half
of the city’s population still lives in slums, while another quarter lives in low-quality housing
(Nijman 2010).
The intense density of the city, especially within slum areas, has practically guaranteed
premium prices for slum land. Desperate to disassociate itself with discourses of poverty and
slums and capitalize on the potential proftability of slums, the Mumbai state, along with major
private capital, has carried out systematic reorganizations of people and space.
The disruptive and often violent processes of urban transformation that characterizes
contemporary development and gentrifcation in Mumbai is not a total break from the practices
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and strategies utilized in the past but is, in some ways, their continuation. Situating contemporary
practices in a historical context illuminates the perpetuation of certain discourses and practices of
urban governance and also reveals the ways that these have changed in response to both resistance
and new developments in the broader socioeconomic context.
The contemporary housing problems of Mumbai stretch well back into the period of British
colonialism (Nijman, 2010). One example of this was the “Native Town” area of the city, reserved
for the native, and especially poor, Indians, which grew enormously without any clear plan for
ensuring the basic needs of residents. The 1872 census of Mumbai (then Bombay) stated, “The
intense density of the city has practically guaranteed premium prices for land, which has made
slums an attractive target of redevelopment for the last several decades” (Sundaram 1989:56, qtd.
in Nijman 2010). Despite this awareness, the British largely ignored problems of housing and
refused to undertake any serious efforts to address them.
Severe health problems became common in Native Town and elsewhere, due to overcrowding
and industrial pollution (Nijman 2010). As a result, the British shifted industrial production from
this central region of the city to its outskirts, such as the northern town of Dharavi (Nijman 2010).
Dharavi rapidly grew following independence until it became a site densely populated with poor
migrants and heavily polluting industries. Over time, Dharavi greatly expanded to the north and
northwest to occupy the heart of Greater Mumbai. Today, Dharavi has become a central target
of slum redevelopment efforts as a result of its economically and politically strategic location
(Nijman 2010).
Throughout most of the 20th century, industrial production – especially textile manufacturing
– served as the economic foundation of Mumbai (Anand and Rademacher 2011; Nijman 2010);
Fernandes, 2004). Most of this production was located in slum and working-class communities,
such as Dharavi and others. Industrial production in Mumbai was organized similarly to the Fordist
industrial production strategies, based on mass production on assembly lines, standardized inputs,
and strict divisions of labor, as seen in the United States (Fernandes 2004).
As Mumbai developed into a center of industrial production, the city desired to appropriate
and transform slum sites to foster the further development of industry (Anand and Rademacher
2011). However, also during this period, militant trade unions gained signifcant political and
economic power and infuence throughout the city. Indeed, as Fernandes (2004) notes, through
militant struggle, the industrial worker became conceptualized to many as the archetypal citizen of
Mumbai, though this did not mean it was a site of worker-centered justice or leftism, as the policies
and practices of the city’s state certainly did not always conform to this imagination. Still, the
relative power of trade unions during Mumbai’s manufacturing boom was signifcant in contesting
and shaping the city’s slum clearance projects (Anand and Rademacher 2011).
The frst major post-independence attempt to eliminate slums in Mumbai emerged with the
Slum Clearance Plan of 1956 (Anand and Rademacher 2011). The Plan utilized a strategy of direct
slum clearance, demolishing slum communities, displacing residents without any providing any
replacement housing, and establishing police surveillance in the razed sites. The purpose of the
slum clearance strategy was to eliminate sites of economic and social disorder and establish new
regulations to rationalize them. During the 1960s, the city began constructing public housing to
provide accommodation to some of the residents displaced by the demolition project. However,
there was not nearly enough public housing for the masses of people displaced by slum clearance
(Anand and Rademacher 2011).
The severe displacement and destruction wrought by the city’s slum clearance programs
provoked strong resistance (Anand and Rademacher 2011). Working class and poor residents of
slum sites, often led by the renowned activist Mrinal Gore, known locally as “water lady,” organized
to demand basic utilities, such as water and sanitation, and an end to wide-scale demolition. To that
end, they organized morchas (protest marches) on the Bombay Municipal Corporation, which had
governed the slum clearance project. Residents of slums, following Gore’s lead, made it clear that
the problems of slums were the result of the failures of the state, rather than of the poor. They also
demanded that the city should focus on improving slum areas if it was not able to construct public
housing for all slum residents, (Anand and Rademacher 2011).
The protests during the 1960s were somewhat successful in contesting and reshaping the
city’s housing programs, passing the Slum Areas (Improvement, Clearance and Redevelopment)
Act in 1971 (Anand and Rademacher 2011). The program inaugurated a change in the policy
regime of urban governance that would continue until the early 1980s, although slum clearance
remained a central strategy of urban development. The program inaugurated a strategy of slum
improvement, as the slum residents had demanded. It created a Slum Improvement Board that
constructed some infrastructure to extend basic utilities to slum areas. The city also attempted to
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Te Journal of Politics and International Afairs | Spring 2014
organize slums on the basis of private property rights. It conducted a census of many slums areas,
providing photopasses to residents deemed legitimate residents. These photopasses established
legitimate access to the utilities extended by the Act of 1971 and conferred some protection from
While the Act of 1971 certainly represented real improvements for many residents of slum
communities, won through hard struggle, it ultimately perpetuated prevailing unequal and unjust
social relations. For example, the photopass system that conferred ownership rights to some
residents of slum communities also further marginalized and excluded those residents who were
deemed illegitimate. Residents who were not given photopasses did not gain access to these
utilities and faced the continual threat of displacement (Anand and Rademacher 2011).
The regime of urban governance characterizing the 1960s through the early 1980s experienced
a signifcant shock during the latter portion of the 20th century in response to changes in the broader
political-economic context. Especially important was the collapse of the manufacturing economy,
greatly disturbing the foundation of Mumbai’s economy (More and Whiteman 2007). Increasing
global competition, paired with falling prices, signifcantly reduced the proftability of textile
manufacturing This created serious demand among both private investors and city politicians for
alternative, and more proftable, sites of capital investment. The city’s private landowners saw
the declining rent actualized through manufacturing and realized the potential for higher rents
following the reorganization of land. All of these developments drove capital into the elite service
sectors, especially fnance and real-estate.
As Mumbai’s elite service sector has developed, the state and private capital have attempted
to reorganize the city to refect and support the growth of its new economic orientation (Fernandes
2004; More and Whiteman 2007). This has involved the dismantling of working-class and poor
centers and the construction of high-end restaurants, retail, and entertainment centers to cater to
the middle and upper-class demands for hip leisure. This has also involved a renewed emphasis on
slum clearance to eliminate what is perceived to be an obstacle to the city’s desire to reach world-
class status among the fnancial elite.
As the political-economic characteristics of Mumbai have changed, its approaches to slum
clearance have shifted signifcantly, utilizing strategies most representative of contemporary
gentrifcation (Anand and Rademacher 2011; Smith, 2002). In 1995, the city passed the Slum
Rehabilitation Scheme (SRS), establishing many of the practices of gentrifcation characterizing
contemporary Mumbai. The policy exclusively targeted “regularized” slums, recognized as
legitimate and endowed with some minimal property rights (Weinstein and Ren 2009). In contrast
to previous strategies, the SRS strategy established a market-based approach to slum clearance and
redevelopment . The purpose of this strategy was not only to remove the obstacle to proftability
and the accumulation of capital represented by slums but, more fundamentally, to make the act of
removal itself proftable.
Under the SRS, the city contracted with private developers to redevelop slum areas (Anand and
Rademacher 2011). In exchange for permits allowing the construction of luxury commercial and
residential properties, private developers would construct high-rise public housing developments on
the sites of demolished slums. The more units of public housing a developer constructed, the more
permits for luxury construction it would receive. Although this strategy was hailed as progressive
by policymakers, it provided assistance only to the small number of residents who were able to
prove that they had lived in the demolished slum for several years, a feat practically impossible
for many of them. Furthermore, by connecting public housing construction to the development of
elite centers, it brought especially precarious populations into an environment of surveillance and
control and directly linked slum clearance to the project of gentrifying Mumbai.
Gentrifcation in Mumbai has not only been produced by the desires of the state and private
capital but also through the demands of the middle and upper-classes. One example of this is the
attempt by the urban middle and upper-classes to criminalize “hawkers” – and remove them from
public spaces (Anjaria 2006). Street hawkers, who set up informal businesses in city streets and
passages, have been a common site in Mumbai for many decades, and the practice has been an
important source of livelihood for countless people. More recently, NGOs and informal community
groups, comprised primarily of middle and upper-class individuals, have begun characterizing
hawkers as a nuisance that creates congestion, threatens public safety, and degrades the culture of
the city (Anjaria 2006; Fernandes 2004; Ghertner 2011). In response to public pressure from the
middle and upper-classes, the city ceased issuing the mandatory permits for street hawking. As a
result, over 90% of hawkers today are in violation of the law and face the threat of state repression
on a daily basis (Anjaria 2006).
In November, 2004, the state announced its plan to demolish “unregularized” slums
Producing (and Contesting) Gentrifcation in Mumbai: Urbanization, Displacement, and Resistance in a Global City
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throughout the city (Weinsten and Ren 2009). The demolition was so systematic that by February
over 90,000 homes had been destroyed. Because these slums were not recognized as legitimate,
the city made no provisions for replacement housing. In some cases, the speed at which demolition
was conducted resulted in the death of slum residents, whose houses were destroyed while they
were still in them. Echoing the struggles against slum clearance in the 1960s, working-class and
poor residents organized a massive protest movement to halt the demolitions. Thousands of slum
residents and others held numerous protests outside the state government building. By the end of
February, the state gave in to the movement’s demands and ceased demolitions (Weinstein and Ren
2009; Routledge 2010).
The preceding examples only begin to illuminate the broad array of practices and discourses,
strategies and policies of actors at all levels in society that characterize contemporary gentrifcation
in Mumbai. Gentrifcation is always a drawn-out yet hierarchical project, enrolling individuals far
beyond the state and private capital in the mission to reorganize urban spaces to accommodate the
needs of investment and proft. However, as the examples of resistance outlined here demonstrate,
gentrifcation is also highly contested and resisted, and the shape that it takes in a particular context
often depends on the form that resistance takes, if it emerges at all. Although the case of Mumbai
undoubtedly is unique, due to the immense size of the city and its slum communities, investigating
the dynamics at work within this particular example can provide a more full understanding of
gentrifcation and resistance elsewhere. Informed by this example, activists and scholars should
begin to develop their own strategies of resistance to assist the struggle for justice and housing
Anand, N., and Rademacher, A. 2011. “Housing in the Urban Age: Inequality and Aspiration in
Mumbai.” Antipode, 43(5): 1748-1772.
Fernandes, L. 2004. “The Politics of Forgetting: Class Politics, State Power and the
Restructuring of Urban Space in India.” Urban Studies, 41(12): 2415-2430.
Ghertner, D. A. 2012. “Nuisance Talk and the Propriety of Property: Middle Class Discourses of
a Slum-Free Delhi.” Antipode, 44(4): 1161-1187.
Hackworth, J., and Smith, N. 2001.”The Changing State of Gentrifcation.” Tijdschriftvoor
Economische en Sociale Geografe, 92(4): 464-477.
More, N., and Whitehead, J. 2007. “Revanchism in Mumbai? Political Economy of Rent Gaps
and Urban Restructuring in a Global City.” Economic and Political Weekly, 42(25):
Nijman, J. 2010. “A Study of Space in Mumbai’s Slums.” Tijdschriftvoor Economische en
Sociale Geografe. 101(1): 4-17.
Smith, N. 2002. “New Globalism, New Urbanism: Gentrifcation as Global Urban Strategy.”
Antipode, 34(3): 427-450.
Weinstein, L., and Xuefei, R. 2009. “The Changing Right to the City: Urban Renewal and
Housing Rights in Globalizing Shanghai and Mumbai.” City & Community, 8(4): 407-430.
Te Journal of Politics and International Afairs | Spring 2014
Tim Adams graduated from Ohio State University with dual degrees in political science and
geography, and research distinction in geography. He completed an undergraduate research thesis
that examined a case of public housing demolition and redevelopment in the Near East Side of
Columbus, Ohio, and the role of OSU and other local institutions in organizing and effecting
gentrifcation and neighborhood transformation. He also has participated in community coalitions
for housing justice and equity.
Te Demographic Crisis in Russia
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The Demographic Crisis in Russia
Anna Dean
ABSTRACT. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has experienced a prolonged period of population de-
cline. This widely acknowledged demographic trend could, in the foreseeable future, have some serious implications.
In regards to economics, depopulation will yield a diminution of the labor force, which then depreciates the nation’s
overall economic potential. Socially, population decline initiates a breakdown of the nuclear family, which then in
turn triggers the deterioration or at least the remaking of society as a whole. Lastly, the political ramifcations of
Russian depopulation involve widespread civil unrest, fueled by extreme ethnic tensions between the shrinking Slavic
population and the growing Muslim population. The culmination of all these factors bodes poorly for the future of
In 2005, Vladimir Putin famously called the collapse of the Soviet Union “the greatest
geopolitical catastrophe” of the twentieth century (Frizell 2014). In April 2014, Ukrainian interim
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, pointing to the aforementioned quote and the recent events
in the Crimea, claimed that Putin hopes to rebuild the Soviet Union (Frizell 2014). Many voices
have articulated this concern, for Putin’s actions all tend to suggest that he wishes to restore Russia
to a position of global prominence. However, Putin faces a number of obstacles in attaining
this goal. One of the most signifcant obstacles lies in the nation’s demographics. Since the
collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has experienced a prolonged period of population decline.
This widely acknowledged demographic trend could, in the foreseeable future, overthrow all of
President Putin’s ambitions and spell disaster for Russia. The following paper seeks to expound
the argument that sustained Russian population decline inevitably precipitates a series of profound
economic, social, and political implications. Therefore, rather than witnessing Russia’s restoration
to all its former glory as President Putin hopes, the world will see a nation substantially weakened,
since the extensive depopulation within Russia will, in all probability, fuel an economic, political,
and social transformation of immense magnitude.
Before examining each of the underlying causes in greater depth, the statistics that illustrate
Russia’s demographic decline deserve some particular attention. In his book, Implosion, Ilan
Berman explains Russia’s demographic decline in terms of a formula known as the “total fertility
rate” or TFR (Berman 2013, 14). In order to sustain a stable population, countries require an
average TFR of 2.1 live births per woman (Berman 2013, 14). Berman then cites U.S. Census
Bureau statistics, stating:
[I]n the years between 2000 and 2008, Russia’s average annual fertility rate was 1.34, far
below the 2.1 necessary to maintain a population at its current size. Today, the situation
is a bit better. According to U.S. government estimates, Russia now ranks 178th in the
world, with a TFR of 1.61. (Berman 2013, 15)
Despite this increase in Russia’s total fertility rate, many experts remain far from optimistic.
For instance, the projections of the United Nations Population Division (UNPD) indicate that, in
the year of 2030, Russia’s population will range only from 133 million to 115 million (Eberstadt
2009). The Russian Federation’s current population is about 143 million (Berman 2013). Thus, the
UNPD’s estimates appear quite daunting, revealing a decrease of 10 million people in seventeen years
as the best-case scenario. These dismal forecasts most likely stem from the observed intransience
of the underlying causes of Russia’s depopulation. Government offcials, economists, and political
scientists have all named a wide range of reasons explaining Russia’s declining population; the
most commonly articulated explanations include tremendously high mortality rates, a culture of
abortion, an AIDS epidemic, and mass emigration. The abysmal and erratic mortality rates within
Russia enjoy long-standing historical precedence. Russia’s turbulent past, including World War
I, the Bolshevik Revolution, World War II, Joseph Stalin’s purges, and the collapse of the Soviet
Union, unsurprisingly yielded highly volatile mortality levels. Exploring Russia’s past and present
life expectancy estimates provides great insight into the future of the country, since the “single
clearest and most comprehensible summary of a population’s mortality prospects is its estimated
expectation of life at birth” (Eberstadt 2009). After the demise of the Soviet Union, Russia’s life
expectancy estimates have remained noticeably low. Ilan Berman explains further, stating:
In 2004, Russia ranked 122nd in the world in life expectancy, placing it in the bottom third
of all nations and far out-side the norm for industrialized ones. By 2011, that number had
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plunged some twenty-two places, to 144th. The average life expectancy for Russian
citizens is now seventy years, putting them behind the citizens of Peru and Tonga…and
only slightly ahead of those in countries such as Tuvalu, Mongolia, and North Korea.
(Berman, Implosion, 17)
These deplorable mortality rates arise from persistent societal problems within Russia.
Alcoholism is pervasive throughout Russia, and Russian scientists claim that twenty percent of
the male deaths in modern Russia are alcohol-related (Berman 2013, 18). Similarly, violence
remains highly problematic, considering that “Russia’s patterns of death from injury and violence
(by whatever provenance) are so extreme and brutal that they invite comparison only with the
most tormented spots on the face of the planet today” (Eberstadt 2009). The common culture of
abortion within Russia is another important cause of the current depopulation. In the times of
the Soviet Union, abortion was viewed as the best form of birth control; consequently, in 1965
the Health Ministry recorded 5.5 million abortions and only 2 million live births (Blyth 2013).
The statistics from 1997 are equally as dismal, for they indicate that about seventy percent of
Russian pregnancies ended in abortion (DaVanzo and Grammich 2001, 27). An article published
by Reuters seeks to assure readers that “wider availability of contraception and a resurgence
of religion have reduced the numbers of abortions overall, but [the author must admit that]
termination remains the top method of birth control in Russia” (Reuters 2011). To compound the
problems stemming from alcoholism, violence, and abortion, the Russian HIV/AIDS epidemic
only exacerbates demographic and social woes. “In 2000, the number of HIV carriers and AIDS
patients is estimated to have increased fourfold,” and this rapid spread of the disease is linked to
the increasing intravenous drug use within Russia (DaVanzo and Grammich 2001, 56-57). “Some
2.5 million Russians are addicted to drugs, and 90 percent of them use the heroin that has fooded
into Russia from Afghanistan since the late 1990s” (Mirovalev 2012). According to anti-drug
czar Viktor Ivanov, “heroin kills 80 Russians each day – or 30,000 a year” (Mirovalev 2012). The
last commonly cited major cause of Russia’s dire depopulation problem is the fact that Russians
have been feeing their homeland. “More than two million people are believed to have left Russia
during the thirteen years that President Vladimir Putin has been in power…[and m]any of those
who stay are thinking of leaving” (Berman 2013, 23). The culmination of all of these factors casts
a shadow over Russia’s future.
The Malthusian theory of population, one of the most famous theories regarding both
population and economics, maintains that population growth inevitably creates shortages, poverty,
high unemployment, and all sorts of other economic ills. This disheartening notion, sometimes
called the Malthusian fallacy, manages to persist in the minds of many journalists, economists,
and political scientists today (Jacoby 2008). The persistence of this notion is unfortunate, since
it leads many to believe that population decline is desirable. Nevertheless, the Malthusian theory
of population proves false, for, as Jeff Jacoby argue in his article “The Coming Population Bust,”
this discouraging notion fails to account for the potential inherent in each human being. Jacoby
cogently states:
Like other prejudices, the belief that more humanity means more misery resists compelling
evidence to the contrary. In the past two centuries, the number of people living on earth
has nearly septupled, climbing from 980 million to 6.5 billion. And yet human beings
today are on the whole healthier, wealthier, longer-lived, better-fed, and better-educated
than ever before… True, fewer human beings would mean fewer mouths to feed. It
would also mean fewer entrepreneurs, fewer pioneers, fewer problem-solvers. Which
is why it is not an increase but the coming decrease in human population that should
engender foreboding. (Jacoby 2008)
Thus, according to Jacoby’s logic, Russia’s looming demographic crisis strongly suggests
dire consequences for Russia’s economic prognostics. A shrinking labor force is likely to infict
longstanding disadvantages on Russian economic potential, especially considering that Russia’s
youth will begin to account for less and less of the total population. RIA Novosti, Russia’s largest
news agency, reports that this trend is already coming to fruition; for, the Federal State Statistics
Service maintains that the age group ranging from 15 to 29 made up only twenty-two percent of the
total population in 2012, measuring 31.6 million people; whereas in 2009, it equaled twenty-four
percent totaling 33.7 million (Pettersen 2013). This observation has many offcials worried. “If this
trend continues the number of young people in the age group of 15-29 could go down to 25 million
in only ten years time, says Sergey Belokonev of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs” (Pettersen
2013). Even President Putin has addressed the issue, though many of his critics complain the
attention paid is both ephemeral and insignifcant. Still, the government has not been silent on the
matter, and one article even claims that the Russian government “has worked hard to foster a baby
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boom, honouring families at pomp-flled Kremlin events, offering subsidies to parents with more
than one child and even raffing off cars to women who give birth on the national holiday” (Reuters
2011). Nonetheless, these efforts have done little in mitigating the impact of depopulation within
the country, and many economists foresee signifcant economic problems in Russia’s near future.
For example, in his book, Petrostate, Marshall Goldman contends that:
Russia’s population shrinkage makes it diffcult to fnd enough young men to staff not only
the army but also the industrial and agricultural workforce. [Furthermore,]…a declining
birth rate means that it will be harder and harder to support the increasing percentage of
the population who have reached retirement age. (Goldman 2010, 198).
Many economists regard youth as the safeguard for the future. Thus, when a country’s
youthful population is steadily dwindling, the country’s prospective security dwindles alongside
its people. In his article, “Drunken Nation: Russia’s Depopulation Bomb,” Nicholas Eberstadt
paints an even bleaker picture for Russia’s future:
Putin’s Kremlin made a fateful bet that natural resources – oil, gas, and other extractive
saleable commodities – would be the springboard for the restoration of Moscow’s
infuence as a great power on the world stage. In this gamble, Russian authorities have
mainly ignored the nation’s human resource crisis. (Eberstadt 2009)
In short, the likelihood that Russia will manage to outrun its demographic realities appear
highly improbable. While natural resources are valuable, a thriving, innovative workforce remains
the most vital driver in an economy. Consequently, Russia will feel the constraints of intractable
population decline before long.
The nuclear family, which typically comprises of a father, a mother, and a number of children
born within wedlock, is the most basic unit of society. Historically, nuclear families have served
as the societal building blocks that hold communities, states, and nations together. Therefore, the
disintegration of this foundational unit of society, which coincides with sustained depopulation,
proves immensely problematic. Russia has already shown signs that the nuclear family is steadily
deteriorating. In 1980, Russia’s illegitimacy was relatively low, with less than one in nine newborns
reportedly born out of wedlock; by 2005, however, reports indicated that Russia’s illegitimacy ratio
almost tripled, approaching thirty percent (Eberstadt 2009). Additionally, marriage is increasingly
less common and less stable (Eberstadt 2009). Consequently, nuclear families are becoming more
and more rare, and those that persist tend to beget a noticeably smaller number of children. These
trends appear quite irreversible, as Eberstadt articulates below:
[T]his much is clear: to date, no European society that has embarked upon the same
demographic transition as Russia’s – declining marriage with rising divorce, the spread
of cohabitation as alternative to marriage; delayed age at marriage and sub-replacement
fertility regimens – has reverted to more ‘traditional’ family patterns and higher levels of
completed family size. There is no reason to think that in Russia it will be any different.
(Eberstadt 2009)
If Eberstadt is correct, then Russia must contend with the constraints imposed by the changes
within the family structure. In a book which documents the proceedings of a seminar held by
the Council of Europe on the Implications of a Stationary or Declining Population, Max Wingen
addresses how a declining population impacts the basic structure of the family, which then in turn
reorganizes the entire structure of society. Wingen argues that long-term depopulation “inevitably
leads to lasting structural changes in the composition of the parent-child community which is
one of the important elements of family socialization” (Council of Europe 1976, 100-101). This
consideration leads Wingen to suggest that the tendency towards smaller families may “modify
the capacities of the family in such a way as to render it largely powerless to fulfll its elementary
social, education and cultural functions” (Council of Europe 1976, 101). Furthermore, “[i]t is
often noted…that very small (one-child) families tend to form a milieu that is not conducive to
socialization; the same is true of two-child families where the children are widely spaced, so that in
practice two ‘only-child situations’ occur” (Council of Europe 1976, 101). These suppositions do
not bode well for Russia, since a large number of Russian families, whether traditional or otherwise,
are opting to have only one or two children. Since this is the case, many families will form the
aforementioned milieu that hinders the parents’ ability to socialize their children. Socialization is
the main mechanism through which families shape society. Thus, if families are rendered unable
to perform this function, then some other body must fll this void. As soon as some other social
organ assumes this role, the structure of society is fundamentally altered. This alteration could
occur in the following manner. Considering that the family is the smallest, most basic unit of
society, it is logical to infer that whichever social organ undertakes the task of socializing the
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nation’s youth will unavoidably be larger and more complex than its predecessor. Once power or
responsibility transfers to a more complex body, the signifcance of the family unit will most likely
decrease even more. In sum, generations of children will turn to the larger and more complex
social organ in order to receive elementary social, educational, and cultural instruction, and the
family’s societal importance will diminish and perhaps become a merely nominal unit of society.
While these particular prognostications may never come to pass, the fact remains that Russia’s
demographic crisis will have serious social implications, and the future of Russia’s stability will
depend entirely on the reconstruction of the basic structures of Russian society.
The political implications of the prospective demographic changes within Russia similarly
indicate foreseeable complications to President Putin’s global ambitions for the nation. In addition
to the other consequences attending Russian depopulation, which are hardly trivial, the rising
Muslim population within Russia coinciding with the shrinking Slavic population sets the stage
for extensive civil unrest. The growth of Islam in Russia is indisputable, and some analysts warn
of the immensity of this trend, arguing:
The implications of Islam’s ascendance in Russia are hard to overstate. “Russia is going
through a religious transformation that will be of greater consequence for the international
community than the collapse of the Soviet Union,” Paul Globe, a leading expert on
Russia’s Muslims, has said. Russia’s religious transformation is still unfolding. At their
current rate of growth, Muslims will make up one-ffth of Russia’s population by 2020.
And by the middle of this century, offcials in Moscow predict that the Russian Federation
might become majority Muslim. (Berman 2013, 30)
Such a profound transformation appears exceedingly probable. The Muslim community
continues to fourish, while the Slavic majority fails to meet the total fertility rate of 2.1 necessary
for replenishment. Furthermore, “[e]xperts say only migration can help plug the demographic
black hole, but that is a solution with potential explosive side effects given the country’s ethnic
tensions” (Reuters 2011). Russia has had a long history of ethic tensions stemming from religious
differences, which is only exacerbated by radical Islamic terrorism. These tensions, which are
especially noticeable in the North Caucasus, have received particular attention in the media due
to the Chechen involvement in the Boston Bombing terrorist attack and the security fears that
accompanied the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Nevertheless, whether the media notices or
not, the tensions are real, and they will have momentous repercussions as the demographic shift
takes place. Today, the unrest is spreading from the North Caucasus to Russia’s heartland, and
ethnic violence is on the rise (Berman 2013). Perhaps unsurprisingly, “the rise in ethnic violence in
Russia has been propelled by a surge in extreme right-wing nationalism” (Berman 2013, 34). Even
so, Russian nationalism is not limited to the Far Right, as Berman illustrates below:
More and more, Russians from across the political spectrum are identifying with and
organizing around a nationalism that is increasingly tinged with racism. “The level of
xenophobia today is rising among various social groups,” Russia’s Civic Chamber, an
offcial civil society oversight body created by Vladimir Putin…noted in its 2012 annual
report. “An especially sharp rise can be observed among the citizens of major cities and
among those people with high levels of education. Their phobias relate frst and foremost
to migrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia, and are motivated by ‘insurmountable’
cultural differences.” The result has been the creation of what one specialist has called “a
fashion for xenophobia” throughout the country. (Berman 2013, 35)
These observations dishearten many who wish to see Russia embrace a more tolerant culture,
since the political and cultural divisions between the shrinking Slavic majority and the growing
Muslim minority appear to be worsening. Prejudices among the Slavic population are reinforced
by brutal terrorist attacks, which occur with horrifying frequency. Russia’s most violent terrorist
organization, the Caucasus Emirate, carried out 511 terrorist attacks in 2009 alone, and by the
end of 2010, the number had jumped to 583 (Berman 2013, 45). To complicate matters further,
the local attitudes in Russia’s Muslim communities demonstrate a hardening of radical religious
beliefs. Berman describes these beliefs, saying:
A poll conducted in early 2011 by the regional journal Nations of Dagestan found that
30 percent of Dagestani youth, including members of Dagestan’s universities and police
schools, said they would choose to live under a Muslim-run religious regime. More
than a third of those polled indicated they would not turn in a friend or family member
responsible for terrorism to authorities. These fndings mirror those of human rights
groups and NGOs active in the Caucasus, which have documented an upsurge in support
for Islamic extremism and adherence to radical religious ideas there. (Berman 2013, 45-
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Evidently, the polarization between the Slavic and Muslim populations is currently a self-
perpetuating cycle. Islamic extremism is present in some of the Muslim communities within
Russia. This leads the Slavic majority to distrust the Muslim minority. This distrust angers the
Muslim minority and further alienates them from the Slavic majority. The alienation causes more
people in the Muslim minority to embrace Islamic extremism, which only restarts this destructive
cycle of polarization. Therefore, due to the increasing polarization between the Slavic majority and
the Muslim minority, Russia’s demographic transformation threatens its future political stability.
In conclusion, the looming demographic crisis in Russia is leading the nation down an
unsettling and unfamiliar path. While the future is by no means certain and predictions are wholly
speculative, the declining population within Russia undoubtedly raises substantial economic,
social, and political concerns. In summation, depopulation has the potential to decimate the labor
force, destroy the structure of the nuclear family, and generate civil unrest. The culmination of all
these factors casts a shadow of uncertainty over the future of Russia. Nevertheless, the Russian
government, led by President Putin, appears relatively unmoved by these prognostications, as
Eberstadt describes, stating:
Moscow’s leadership is advancing into this uncertain terrain not only with insouciance but
with highly ambitious goals. In late 2007, for example, the Kremlin outlined the objective
of achieving and maintaining an average annual pace of economic growth in the decades
ahead on the order of nearly 7 percent a year… But history offers no examples of a society
that has demonstrated sustained material advance in the face of long-term population
decline. It seems highly unlikely that such an ambitious agenda can be achieved in the
face of Russia’s current demographic crisis. Sooner or later, Russian leadership will have
to acknowledge that these daunting long-term developments are shrinking their country’s
social and political potential. (Eberstadt 2009)
Thus, while Russia’s demise is far from inevitable, these daunting long-term developments
are hard to ignore. Furthermore, the longevity of the major causes of Russia’s declining population,
namely alcoholism, violence, abortion, drug abuse, an AIDS epidemic, and mass emigration,
solidify the presumption that Russia will not attain its former glory. Instead, the world will see a
fundamentally transformed Russia, since the extensive population decline will essentially remake
the nation, though probably not in accordance with President Putin’s ambitions.
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Berman, Ilan. 2013a. Implosion: The End of Russia and What It Means for America.
2013b. “Russia, Poised for Failure: Column.” USA Today. <
Blyth, Kristen. 2013. “Abortion: A Matter of Life and Death.” The Moscow News. http://
DaVanzo, Julie, and Population Matters (Project). 2001. Dire Demographics: Population Trends
in the Russian Federation. Santa Monica, CA: Rand.
Eberstadt, Nicholas. 2009. “Drunken Nation: Russia’s Depopulation Bomb.” World Affairs
depopulation-bomb (May 6, 2014).
Frizell, Sam. 2014. “Ukraine PM: Putin Wants To Rebuild Soviet Union.” http:// (May 6, 2014).
Goldman, Marshall I. 2010. Petrostate: Putin, Power, and the New Russia. New York: Oxford
University Press.
Jacoby, Jeff. 170AD. “The Coming Population Bust.”
bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2008/06/18/the_coming_population_bust/ (May
6, 2014).
Mirovalev, Mansur. 2012. “Russia Drug Abuse Top Problem, According To Poll.” Huffngton
Post. (May
6, 2014).
Pettersen, Trude. 2013. “Russia’s Youth Population in Steady Decline.” Barentsobserver. http://
(May 6, 2014).
Reuters. 2011. “Russia: World’s Highest Rate of Abortions.” Daily News.
Seminar on the Implications of a Stationary or Declining Population, and Council of Europe.
1978. Population Decline in Europe: Implications of a Declining or Stationary Population.
New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Anna Dean graduated The Ohio State University in May of 2014 with a degree in Political
Science and International Relations summa cum laude with Honors Distinction. Next fall she will
be pursuing a Ph.D. in Political Philosophy at the University of Dallas.
Somali Development Crisis: Te Neoliberal Subject and the Creation of a New Somalia
Somali Development Crisis: The Neoliberal Subject and
the Creation of a New Somalia
Bradley Hinger
ABSTRACT. Somalia still has a problem with ineffective central governance that began when colonial rule ended in
the 1960’s. Recently, a new democratic government has taken offce vowing to bring an end to this troubling post-co-
lonial legacy. Despite its promotion of a new vision for the country, Somalis continue to be plagued by violence,
malnutrition, and political and economic instability. This paper argues that responsibility for this uphill struggle lies in
Western redevelopment strategies that aim to liberalize the global south. Neoliberal discourses of entrepreneurialism
and self-responsibility have allowed the new Somali government to disengage from enacting policies to change the
harsh and unforgiving living environment that many Somalis experience every day. Neoliberal governmental failure
to regulate and direct change in Somalia has affected two important populations, both committed to the development
of the, in different ways. Grafting Western neoliberal values onto a previously illiberal nation has only exacerbated the
inequality, contradictions, and dissonance that it set out to remedy.
As globalization allows for the easy transfer of ideas, neoliberalism has become especially
salient in governance frameworks. Strategies for the development of economically underperforming
cities and countries have been dominated by neoliberal thought. Discourse frames social and
political strategies in economic terms, using “various techniques… to get individuals, populations,
institutions, and spaces to act entrepreneurial” (Spence 2012). These ideas of reliance on the
private sector and individual responsibility are very characteristic of what has been called roll
out neoliberalism. The downward rescaling of the state’s economic regulatory involvement has
been a recent occurrence over the past 30 years. During the 1980’s, a dismantling or ‘roll-back’
of Fordist-Keyensian policies of capital accumulation led to a state withdrawal from its typically
welfarist regime (Coq-Huelva 2013). A decade later, in place of these policies, the state began
to encourage, or ‘roll-out,’ policies onto the private sector, changing the structure of the system
entirely. Responsibility for socio-economic issues such as welfare, crime, unemployment, and
homelessness was then placed on the individual, and continues to be today. However, this is not
to say that the state has no role in controlling these issues. The emphasis has switched from direct
state involvement in correcting these problems to one of state regulation of private responses
(Peck and Tickell 2002). The mentality of neoliberalism with its promotion of self-responsibility
and competition has been quickly pushed by economically and politically stable countries upon
developing nations. However, little attention is paid to their historical context and institutional
performance. What allows this framework to be easily transferable is its use of the idea of the
expert. Politically and economically dominant countries have developed an ‘expertise’ about
economic matters that these emerging nations lack. Expertise comes along with discourses of
“truth” and “reason,” using rational choice “to get people to recognize and act on their (narrow)
self-interest… problems and their solutions are taken out of the realm of politics traditionally
considered because they are viewed as being ‘truthful’ and objective’” (Spence 2012). Developing
nations coopt these strategies, which appear to work so well in other contexts, and attempt to apply
them to the distinct situations in their countries. This has happened to many different countries, in
various states of development. Discourses of “world class cit[ies]” in India (Ghertner 2012; Ellis
2012), policies for economic recovery through housing in Brazil (Nuijten et al. 2012), and the
urbanization of China (He and Wu 2009) have blinded these governments and policy makers to the
realities of the lived environment which they intend to change.
Here, we will focus on how roll-out neoliberalism has been pushed on different groups
within Somalia with differing effects due to different experiences and identities. It will show that
neoliberal discourses of individual responsibility and competition continue to overshadow and
divert accountability of the Somali government for the poor living conditions in the country. First,
this paper will give a background to the Somali confict and explain the roots of many of the social
and political problems that continue to plague the nation. Next, the paper will show the ways
the country has encouraged and reaped the benefts of the diaspora, Somalis displaced from the
country as a result of instability, as an ideal neoliberal subject. It will show how these discourses of
economic redevelopment and social progress have pushed individuals within the Somali diaspora
to prop up the poor and disadvantaged. This has helped the state disengage from the task of long
term change. Finally, it will show how attempts to harness the neoliberal subjects within Somalia
have failed despite the encouragement of self-responsibility and citizen involvement.
In a recent talk at The Ohio State University, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud
explained that Somalia was a young country, its history only going back 40 years (Mohamud
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2013). He appealed to the sizable Somali audience, most of whom were members of the large
diaspora population in Columbus, to come back and use the skills and experiences that they had
gained in the United States to help shape and rebuild the country. He positioned them at the
forefront of a new Somalia, assuring them that the country was starting to turn itself around;
that there were institutions to support them in their business ventures. There was no talk of
state help for the starving or the unhealthy masses that still reside in the country. Instead, he
appealed to neoliberal ideas, asking the diaspora to bring their savings earned abroad back to the
country. Mohamud’s speech is a clear example of roll-out neoliberalism in which the private
sector “become[s] responsible for tasks formerly considered to be the responsibility of the state”
(Nuijten et al. 2012). The Somali government has bought into the neoliberal mentality that has
been pushed onto it by Western governments as the ultimate strategy for redevelopment. The
Somali government is trying to use discourses of responsibility to spur on the Somali people to
rebuild the economy for them. However, these efforts have gone unheeded as the leaders have
been unable to harness the neoliberal subjects within the country to rebuild.
A Short Somali Political History
Pre-Colonial Somali political structure was a highly federalized system as it followed very
closely their clan based societal organization. These clans consist of people connected through
various levels of kinship and social classifcations. They still exist today and continue to hold
power in times of central government instability. There are fve levels: clan-group, clan, sub-clan,
primary lineage, and dia-paying group (Lewis 1982, 4). Each of these segments has different
functions and a decreasing number of members. The clan-family is the broadest and highest level
of the clan structure. There are four main nomadic clan families: the Darood historically centered
in the middle of the country, the Isaaq in the north, the Hawiye in the east and far south, and the Dir
in the far north as well as two historically agricultural clan families, the Digil and the Rahanweyn,
are historically based in the south along the coast (Lewis 1982, 9). These families can consist
of more than a million members and for that reason are not very politically coherent. However,
clan-family ties are very strong among individuals and can cause otherwise non-existent tensions
among people of differing clans. Usually, these clan ties are measured back approximately 30
generations to a common ancestor (Lewis 1982, 4).
Between the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, Somalia was subject to various regimes of
European colonial power, with control passing from Portugal to Italy, France, and the United
Kingdom. These colonial powers composed “illegitimate boundaries” and “different colonial
histories, languages, and political systems,” which began to create new, previously nonexistent
cleavages within the country as well as solidify and institutionalize those already existing (Besteman
1999, 12). This practice is unremarkable as it was repeated time and time again by colonial powers
throughout the region and the globe. However, particularly in Somalia, it served to create very
defnite geographical axis of difference, legitimizing and exacerbating these cleavages. In the
summer of 1960, both the British and what had been the Italian territories in Somalia gained their
independence and the frst Somali Republic was established. This republic saw a well-functioning
democracy with multiparty elections for nine years (Adam 2008, 1). However, clans increasingly
fought for group dominance and the government was ripped apart by corruption and infghting.
In October 1969, Siyaad Barre successfully conducted a military coup, wresting control of the
Barre aligned Somalia with the Soviet Union and it began to fund his increasingly powerful
army. The Soviet support came as a result of Barre’s adherence to “scientifc socialism” (Adam
2008, 9). This socialism promoted a reliance on education, training, technical competence,
specialization, and experience in order to further support institutions that were “functioning
reasonably well” (Adam 2008, 10). However, socialism was short lived in Somalia and quickly
Barre began to shift his focus from objective qualifcations for power to clan specifc appointments.
This clan-based favoritism used trustworthy men selected by the ruler to be placed in positions
of power and control (Adam 2008, 10). Specifcally, Barre favored members of the Darod clan-
family in his own sub-clan, Marehan, his mother’s, Ogaden, and that of his son-in-law, Dulbahante
(Adam 2008, 11). Soon, rich or powerful members of other clan groups began to feel persecuted
under Barre’s rule. He began to arrest and exile any opposing clans in the Somali ruling class.
Eventually Somalia was cut off from Soviets and began to be funded by The United States, Italy,
and China. Barre began to incite wars between other threatening clans, arming some against others
and aggravating existing clan tensions to prolong his power. Eventually, the United States began to
question the Somali government’s human rights record and withdrew both economic and military
aid by 1989 and in the beginning of 1991, the Barre’s regime came to an end (Adam 2008, 15).
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In the years that followed Siyaad Barre’s fall from power, there was general lawlessness
resulting from an attempted power grab by many different clan leaders and warlords trying to fll
the political vacuum. The factional fghting eventually became a civil war reportedly costing the
lives of 300,000 people in 1992 (Shay 2008, 10). Operation Restore Hope, started by the UN with
the help of the United States, set out to provide nutritional aid to the thousands of people starving
due to the war, disarm fghting factions, and attempt to formulate a Western style government
(Shay 2008, 10). Despite its lofty goals, the UN quickly found itself in a much more precarious
situation as they came under heavy losses in battles against local militias. Additionally, these
militias began to see control of food distribution as an important means by which to gain control
over the country. For that reason, many of the different factions sought themselves to gain power
over UN relief dispersal and use it as they saw ft. This exacerbated the humanitarian crisis present
in Somalia even further (Shay 2008, 11).
After the fall of the Barre regime in 1991, informal Islamic courts were created to maintain
order in the country. The success of these courts is attributed to their ability to maintain order
through strict discipline under Shari’a law (Shay 2008, 99). These informal groups eventually
evolved into a more centralized pseudo-government called the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), which
was characterized by highly repressive governance and radical Islamic law. In the wake of 9/11,
the U.S. began to see the intensifcation of Islamic rule in Somalia as a possible breeding ground
for terrorist activity. It decided to take action and supported the Ethopian dismantling of the
ICU in 2006. The Ethiopian military rule of the capital was brutal and contributed to the further
crumbling of Somali society. Many Somalis saw the U.S.’s participation in the overthrow of the
ICU as a power grab spurred only by fears of an increase in international terrorism stemming
from the country and became wary of Western involvement in Somali politics (Ibrahim 2010).
After Ethiopian troops took control of the south of Somalia, the Transitional Federal Government
(TFG), a government that had been founded in 2004 and ousted by the ICU in June of 2006, was
restored to power (Shay 2008, 121). The TFG was a Western style centralized democracy, and
many Somalis were wary of it due to its history of corruption and marginalization of large sections
of society (International Crisis Group 2011). Despite this, on Monday August 20, 2012, a selection
committee made up of clan elders selected 250 individuals for the 275 member parliament and in
early September of that year, Hassan Sheik Mohamud was elected president (Al-Jazeera 2012a,
Al-Jazeera 2012c). In the summer of 2012, a provisional constitution was drafted but it is still
awaiting endorsement by parliament (Al-Jazeera 2012d).
Responsibility and Development
In an opinion piece posted on Al-Jazeera, former Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon
wrote that Somalia has “turned a corner and there is no going back” (Shirdon 2013). He explained
that Somalia was seeing a return to normalcy as exemplifed by extension of government into
outer regions, economic recovery, and the return of social organizations such as a new sports club.
In a similar article, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud talked about the great progress
that has been made in the judicial and economic sectors, as well as the security of the nation.
(Mohamud 2013b) He acknowledged the gains that still must be made, however. He assured
readers that new political systems taking root and promotion of democratic values in the country
have and will continue to help the country rise above, what he called, merely being dealt a bad
hand. Through the optimistic outlooks of these political leaders, one would hardly expect there to
be the stagnation of solutions to extensive poverty, inequality, and lack of representation present
in Somalia. Still, however, it appears that their optimism may be unfounded. We must ask, what
is the function of these public statements in light of all of the negative press? These statements
play a role in persuading members of the Somali diaspora to bring their money and skills back to
Somalia. In this section I will examine how Somalis are asked to examine the environment in the
country as a place of investment for the individual entrepreneur. Little to nothing was said about
the diaspora’s distinct history in and away from Somalia, working on the assumption that theses
Somalis wanted to return to the country. Additionally, Somalia was not framed as a place to live
but instead to spend, thereby framing the country as a whole in a distinctly neoliberal manner.
In the Al-Jazeera article, former Prime Minister Shirdon is, without a doubt, attempting to
engage with would-be Somali investors. He explains the institutions that supposedly exist, as well
as those being built, promise the security of investments. Shirdon talks of Somalia having a “bright
future” being “within touching distance” (Shirdon 2013). Similarly, President Mohamud “assures
partners…that we are on the right path” (Mohamud 2013b). This branding of Somalia as a stable
and secure country is just one discourse in a cacophony of chatter around what Somalia could be.
Like a new business in need of capital, Somalia is presenting itself as a land of possibility with
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a multitude of opportunities for monetary gain. Somalia remains a nation of many subjectivities
despite the fact that the government continues to talk of the country as a homogenous nation. It is
often framed as a nation where all people embody what is ‘Somali’ and want the same outcome
for the country. This is exemplifed by Mohamud’s speech at Ohio State. His positioning of the
country as a mere 40 years old has created a common, yet undoubtedly sanitized, history for the
people in the country. This discursive homogenizing of identities is a distinctly neoliberal practice
in the way it tries to reproduce a more easily governed uniformity through talk of national identity
and Somali unity. The essentializing of identities helps to form seemingly smooth and constant
populations, despite the absence of such, to be targeted the diaspora. The push of these ideals on
the diaspora is not surprising as it is already a major player in the county’s economy by means of
sending remittances. It is estimated that the diaspora sends around $2.3 billion back to Somalia
every year, or approximately 35% of the Somali GDP. These remittances make up around 80%
of the startup capital for Somali businesses (UNDP 2012, 30). The government understands the
power that this money has in helping the Somali economy to stay afoat (Mohamud 2013b). As
long as the leaders of Somalia reap the benefts of this cash fow, they will refuse to acknowledge
their unwillingness to produce long term progress within their country through policy decisions.
In his speech, the President beseeched the members of the Somali community in Columbus
come back to Somalia to set up businesses as well as help to rebuild the country (Mohamud 2013a).
Somalia has been framed as a place prime for the competitive processes that neoliberal thought
encourages. President Mohamud has not only set Somalia forward as a place of investment for
non-Somali investors but has pushed the idea of the diaspora as a group of investors to be won
over. He told the diaspora to start businesses in Somalia as the time was ripe and the economic
environment ideal, peddling in entrepreneurial discourse. These people would be cash cows for
the Somali government even more than they already are through remittances if they were to bring
their money and entrepreneurial skills back to Somalia. Mohamud placed the responsibility for
the recovery of the country on the people who no longer lived there by also leveraging emotions
against them. He talked of families left behind in Somalia who would need help to restore the
country. The tone of his talk seemed to put forward the idea that if the people who had gained
skills, not to mention supposed reserves of cash, and experience living in the United States would
not help their families and fellow Somalis, then no one would. He disassociated the role of the
government from the welfare of its people by explaining that they were doing what they could by
creating and maintaining the structures and security necessary to rebuild a Somali economy and
boost the well-being of the Somali people. The shifting of social responsibility from the state to
the people is a distinctively neoliberal idea and has played out in many different ways in different
contexts (Fairbanks 2011; Rankin and Delany 2011; DeFillipis et al. 2006). For this reason, the
government will continue to petition the diaspora to return.
Discourse and Reality
With the Somali government’s reach outside the country shepherding the diaspora back to
Somalia, this governance of roll-out neoliberalism is being pushed within the country. Despite
the efforts of the Somali leaders, the discourses of progress have not been loud enough to be
heard by the Somali people. This section will contrast Shirdon and Mohamud’s public statements
that the country has provided Somalis with an environment in which that they can best become
entrepreneurial citizens with the lives and experiences of Somalis who live inside the country to
show the disparity between the two accounts. The backlash to political and economic instability
has been a continually insecure country, in which extremist groups have been able to take hold due
to the opportunities that they provide for the Somalis.
In February of 2013, Shirdon embarked on a months long ‘Listening Tour’ to hear the
voices of the Somali people. On this tour and in his writing, he praised the Somalis he met with
for their resilience as a people. This tour functioned as a way for the Somali people to buy into
the neoliberal system of governance through the promotion of individual action. This section,
however, will show that very little progress has been made and that both the views of the Somali
people and the government’s talk have not been realized.
Despite Somali leaders’ espousal of an ever-improving political situation in Somalia, the
experiences of the people living in the country differs. The political processes and institutions
continue to be questioned by both Somalis and international groups alike. The legitimacy of
presidential election results have been damaged by multiple accusations of bribery from inside and
outside the parliament. Reports have made that bribes of up to $50,000 were being given to those
voting to ensure that President Mohamud, described initially as a dark horse in the election, won
the race (Al-Jazeera 2012a). Senior diplomats, members of parliament, and “people connected to
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the technical selection committee… [have said] that there is bribery going on all sides and some of
those MPs [Members of Parliament] have accepted that money” (Al-Jazeera 2012a). These claims
have done nothing to help the already tenuous view of government stability and transparency.
In its 2012 report on perceptions of government transparency, Transparency International places
Somalia last, tied with North Korea, ranking scoring 8 points on its scale out of a possible 100.
Additionally, a UN Development Program report on the status of Somali youth, defned as those
between the ages 14-29, found perceptions of government equally dismal. Regardless of the fact
that Somalis younger than 30 make up 70% of the total population, over 65% said that they either
did not care to be involved in politics, wanted to be a little less involved, or wanted to be much less
involved in politics (UN Development Program (UNDP) 2012, 69). The report asked respondents
for their reasoning for these answers and many explained their distrust in the legitimacy of the
government and its ability to create change (UNDP 2012, 68).
A gap between talk of economic recovery and rates of poverty and unemployment continues
to warrant questioning. According to the UNDP, 78% of Somalis live below the poverty line
with a majority living in the agricultural areas of the country, those most often without political
representation (UNDP 2012, 25). A large food crisis stemming from the political turmoil of the
early 1990’s continues to be a problem. The food crisis was declared over in 2011, however,
in another discursive inconsistency, a third of the population remains unable to meet their
nutritional needs (UNDP 2012, 34). A majority of international aid has focused on meeting short
term goals, seeming to overlook systemic issues in the interest of building more capital for the
corrupt government to deal out as they see ft. Employment remains a large problem in Somalia.
From 2002 to 2012, unemployment for Somalis aged 14 to 64 rose from 47 to 53, signaling an
economy far worse than described by the president and prime minister. In the most populous age
bracket, 14-29, unemployment is even higher, estimated at 67% (UNDP 2012, 61). Of those who
are employed, more are self-employed than are a paid employee (UNDP 2012, 64). Most South-
Central Somalis in the youth age bracket believe that the problem exists because of a disparity
between the educational demands of many jobs and the educational opportunities that exist in the
country (UNDP 2012, 65).
Security remains an issue with many Somalis, especially those in South-Central Somalia.
Perceptions of peace rate 2.1 out of 5 in the region as opposed to a 4.6 and 3.3 in autonomous regions
Somaliland and Puntland, respectively (UNDP 2012, 71). Somalis are still afraid of al-Shabaab,
the ever-present terrorist organization (Al-Jazeera 2013a; Johnson 2013). They acknowledge the
threat that the group continues to pose and are most aware of the control that Shabaab has over a
large part of the country.
“‘The government of Somalia in one way or another is taking responsibility, but we
very well know that the majority of the areas are in the hands of al-Shabab,’ Abdullahi
Mohamed said. ‘For any person who wants to go back and to have security provided
by the central government, that means they can only go back to where there is a central
government. That is only in Mogadishu, the capital city.’” (Swanson 2013)
When asked why they turned to a life of violence and crime, many speak of the benefts
that groups such as al-Shabaab provide for them. These groups can provide an outlet for Somalis
who believe that they have no voice to voice their opinions through acts of violence. This “civic
governmentality” acts beyond the formal government providing opportunities, both social and
economic, to otherwise powerless people (Roy 2009). The most interesting aspect is the way that
these informal governance systems end up reproducing the same structures as the formal governments
that they seem to run against. An interview with a Somali ex-pirate revealed the resources that
illegitimate and illicit activities can give. After he was unable to continue his education and the
education that he had received was not enough, he was unable to fnd employment. He was lured
into piracy by “frustration” as well as seeing his friends “leading luxurious lives with money from
piracy,” able to earn sums of $70,000 U.S. (UNDP 2012, 41). He was asked what his solution to
these problems were and answered, “[I] believe that job creation for the youth is the answer…”
(UNDP 2012, 41). This account is very similar to the way Hezbollah in Lebanon and criminal
dons in Jamaica interact with the underrepresented. Both Shabaab and Hezbollah are “grassroots
governmentalit[ies that have] come to turn on formations of civic identity and a broader civic
commitment” in order to organize politically and economically marginalized groups (Roy 2009).
Despite the crime and violence that the Jamaican dons perpetuate, they have taken the place of the
state as it has retreated from the provision of social and security services to the lower classes (Jaffe
2012). These dons derive their fnancial power from political parties in Jamaica, comparable to the
way that al-Shabaab was born out of legitimate politics, “act[ing] as brokers between the urban
poor and politicians” (Jaffe 2012).
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Through their writing and speaking, the leaders of Somalia refuse to admit the extent
to which the country is still foundering. They place the responsibility on the Somali people,
attempting to elicit ‘conversation’ around what the people need, however, the responses appear to
have been largely discarded. These meetings helped to shore up the neoliberal mentality through
the ideas that the citizens were in charge of their own fate and that they had the agency to change
it through discussion. This idea of participation is very similar to that of gentrifcation in Recife,
Brazil. The Recife local government held meetings to involve the people in the redevelopment of
the area (Nuijten et al. 2012). However, as is the case in Somalia, the people of Recife had no real
input into redevelopment plans and these meetings served to pacify them and give them a false
sense of purpose.
The Somali government would like to have many believe that the country is pulling itself
of the turmoil of the past 20 years, however, the country still has much progress to make. Their
distinctly neoliberal approach to redevelopment has had varying effects on different groups of
Somalis. The diaspora, a more fnancially and politically secure population, has been able to live
up to the neoliberal ideal pushed by the President and former Prime Minister, sending money back
to the country, with remittances acting as welfare payments. These principles have not transferred
as easily to the people living in Somalia. Their lack of perceived political and economic agency
has made them unreceptive to the government’s neoliberal discourses. However, the neoliberal
mentality clearly still exists, as criminal enterprises exploit it, leading a number of Somalis to
a life of crime. The interplay between the formal and illegitimate and their in/ability to entice
struggling Somalis may be an interesting subject for further inquiry. The Somali government’s
focus on economic redevelopment as its primary driver for social welfare is clearly misguided. The
blurring of the social and economic, so characteristic of a neoliberal mentality, has only pushed
disconnected Somalis further away and created more problems than it has fxed.
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55 54
Te Journal of Politics and International Afairs | Spring 2014
Bradley Hinger is a fourth year student at Ohio State University from Cincinnati, majoring in
political science with minors in geography and international economics and social development.
After graduation, he wishes to pursue graduate studies in political and economic geography.
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