James Putzel (BA, MA McGill, DPhil Oxford) is Professor of Development Studies at the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics. Between 2000 and 2011 he was Director of the Crisis States Research Centre at the LSE. Professor Putzel is well-known for his work on agrarian reform including his book A Captive Land: The Politics of Agrarian Reform in the Philippines, as well as his research on social capital, democratisation and the political economy of development in Southeast Asia. His recent research has focused on politics, governance and economic development in crisis states including comparative research in Asia and Africa. He has undertaken research in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Senegal. He is co-author of Meeting the Challenges of Crisis States (2012) and lead author of the OECD book, Do No Harm: International Support for Statebuilding (2010). Putzel was a founding member of the Fragile States Council of the World Economic Forum and sits on the advisory board of the Journal of Peasant Studies and the editorial board of the Philippine Political Science Journal. He is member of the International Advisory Board of the China International Development Research Network.
Why Liberals are Poor Peace-Makers: Discarding Orthodoxies to Reduce Violence in Developing Countries
This paper suggests that the reduction of levels of violent conflict in lower and middle income countries requires a serious rethinking of both the role of the state in consolidating and maintaining peace and the model of a state capable of doing so. The paper draws on research undertaken by the Crisis States Research Centre at the LSE between 2000 and 2012. The first section emphasises that the most important drivers of violence in the developing world today are the asymmetric military interventions unleashed by the world's great powers to effect regime change. The most intractable cases of persistent violent conflict in the developing world today have been precipitated by external military interventions often in the name of civilian protection and democracy promotion. The following sections argue that the establishment of inclusive political settlements and state organisations based upon them should take precedence over the promotion of formal democratic systems, poverty reduction, efficient service delivery, or prudent macroeconomic management in the wake of violent conflicts. In this sense the paper suggests that organisations like the WHO need to pay much more attention to how their activities in post-war situations affect the consolidation of state organisations, even if this means tolerating greater levels of inefficiency and slower developmental progress.