A discussion moderated by Kim Bettcher, Knowledge Management Officer, Center for International Private Enterprise

Visit Biographies for more about presenters

What does the latest research on development, freedom and peace tell us about the potential for peace through commerce?
At the heart of the peace through commerce literature is the emphasis on the importance of economic freedom. That freedom provides the opportunity for the poor to enter the market and it is often thwarted by a variety of institutional, cultural, and political factors. This session focuses on new research in this area.

New Academic Research on the Relationships of Economic Development, Freedom and Peace
Watch the four videos and join the discussion with presenters below.

Raymond Gilpin, U.S. Institute of Peace

"Economic Development and Alleviation of Poverty"(4:40)

Elena Panaritis, Director, Panel Group

"Peace through Basic Security of Property

Borany Penh, Senior Political Economist, Office of Poverty Reduction, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

"Economic Incentives for Peace: Contributions of Micro-finance and Livelihoods Support"(4:56)

Pete Tashman, George Washington University, Department of Strategic Management and Public Policy

"Dynamic Capabilities and Pro-Poor Business Strategies"(2:45)


Discussion: What does the latest research on development, freedom and peace tell us about the potential for peace through commerce?
Discussion Questions
1. What reforms are needed to allow the poor and others outside the formal economy to gain access to economic opportunities? What are the roles of the private sector (local or international), NGOs, and the public sector in advancing these reforms?
2. What are the social and institutional prerequisites for economic development that can sustain peace?
3. How does economic freedom contribute to political freedom and peace?

Views: 171

Replies to This Discussion

I think we all agree the education is the most important prerequisites for economic development that to maintain peace. With better education, people can obtain more opportunity and easy access to achieve better living standards. Normally one of the roots of cause of conflict is people’s basic needs for living can not being met or satisfied. With better education, people learned more skills and technologies that can help increase productivity and create more wealth. Therefore, along with the economic development, people’s basic needs for living being met and satisfied, then the society tends to sustain peace.

Additionally, I think openness is very important for a country’s economic development. Raymond talked about the example of tourism in his video, which I found very interesting. He mentioned the tourism not just deliver tourist, but also capital and other things to help raise living standard and built global partnership. I think tourism represents a society’s openness level. China applied ‘open policy’ in 70s, which cause its economic increase rapidly and indirectly helped built up better social and legal structures. All of these benefits brought by the openness help China to sustain peace.
This links to the third questions, the economic freedom and political freedom. I think the economic freedom definitely has the contribution to political freedom. Since the economic freedom, like free trade will let people achieve more wealth which can lead the change of social class structure. The minority groups can also has the power and ability to present their political views. This will forces the increase of political freedom. But I think political freedom not necessary brings economic freedom and development, and especially peace. Still use China as the example. the political freedom inside of China is low since the communist party has the absolute power, but the economic freedom level inside China is increase in the recent decades. Many of its economic policy are learned from western capital countries. But country like China owns huge population can hardly achieve political freedom and peace at the same time. So is the economic freedom and political freedom are absolute- needed to achieve peace and reduce poverty? Which one should be more important?
Certainly there are some tradeoffs in development, but why do you think a country has to choose between economic and political freedom? The statistical evidence does not suggest a country must sacrifice political freedom for economic freedom or growth. I'm not saying growth and political freedom always go hand in hand automatically but there are key institutions, such as property rights, that tend to be associated with both. Over time, I don't think most countries can progress too far along one dimension without reforms on the other. Also, I think if you look closer you will find significant differences between China and western capitalist countries. Consider institutions such as contract enforcement, the banking system, and the protection of intellectual property rights. It will be interesting to see how China's institutions develop going forward.
The main theme of the conference is empowering the economic infrastructure, as well as capitalizing and improving the local capital markets in the places of “conflict” by economy and trade.
The most significant presentation of this week's theme is “Dynamic Capabilities and Pro-Poor Business Strategies” who is given by the speaker Pete Tashman, a PhD student from my university. He points out the importance of “Corporate Social Responsibility”. Furthermore, he indicates seeing social issues as an unmet market demand. I agree with his thoughts and comments on this subject.

The problem is mostly about constitutional changes, the economy should be modified in a way that more formal people can be involved in it. Elena Panaritis touches this subject by mentioning the property rights in her presentation, as well as Raymond Gilpin who talks about capital intensive nature of tourism.
The business is about bringing the peace but, 'peace' mentioned here is not about foreign capital taking over the economy, it's more about the foreign capital making the collaboration with the local economy. Borany Penh brings out this subject in her presentation: "Economic Incentives for Peace: Contributions of Micro-finance and Livelihoods Support" by underlining the importance of addressing poverty reduction in conflict and places.
Finally, the last question; “How does economic freedom contribute to political freedom and peace?” is ideological which comes up to the issue of relationship between the political and economic freedom. Political freedom can't be mentioned without economic freedom, and more on this; there is a good article posted by Efe Sevin, which I really liked. It's a valuable source that provides substantial information on this subject. “Such a link between economic freedom and political freedom would certainly confirm certain theoretical insights in the literature."
I agree with Raymond Gilpin that tourism has a positive impact on developing countries and would help such countries increase capital and economic development. Tourism would also raise global awareness because people from all over the world are visiting these countries which would contribute to increased development. Economic freedom is related to political freedom and peace because if the government creates more jobs for the poor it would definitely contribute to peace because it would create more equality. It would allow a country to develop economically if more people are working and contributing to, for example, tourism which would help in the increase of capital for that country.
I think the idea of alleviating poverty through securing property rights is something that should be paid more attention to. The current economic situation in the U.S. is a perfect example of how much of a country’s wealth and stability is vested in private property; the subprime mortgage crisis literally crippled the country’s growth. I agree with Elena that private property is one of the best ways to create meaningful wealth because it not only increases an individual’s net worth substantially, but it also gives them a necessary asset for acquiring additional financing. In this way, the value of stronger property systems is really two fold!
I think Mr. Gilpin makes some very strong points for how Businesses through tourism can promote economic development and peace. One interesting point he makes though is the safety of the tourists. It seems like it could be a problem that could be hard to find out where to start with: tourism can help promote development and peace, but without some development and peace it will be hard for tourists to feel safe enough to visit. It would be interesting to see if some large tourism companies would see this as an opportunity, while a risky one, to cash in on some great locations, while helping develop these locations and promote peace there. If large, well known companies are offering tourism packages, tourists will feel more comfortable visiting these countries, because they have the security of the well known company names, rather than the unfamiliarity of a local tourism company.
I really like the idea of promoting economic development through tourism. While risky like you said, it is a very efficient way to jump start the economy. Safety is a big issue, however it has been successful in other areas where tourism companies made a resort where the guests would be completely safe. If this is done properly I can only guess that their will be great success and a real kick start to the development of these poorer countries.
I found Ms. Panaritis's ideals on property rights very interesting. I just don't understand how the wealth of the property can be objectified without upsetting the less fortunate who seem to be marginalized. In most American urban areas, this happens as gentrification, where the property value goes up and the more affluent move in, pushing out the less fortunate when they can't afford to live there anymore. How can we make sure that in these developing countries in the Middle East and South America that this doesn't happen to them? What makes fair?


Kenny Brown
I agree with Mr. Brown, there are definitely two sides to this argument. While we want to develop these areas it is key that those who are the original residents benefit from the development and not the wealthy who buy in early and sell when the property value goes up. There needs to be a way to develop these areas while those original property owners still have the rights to their land. That way, when the value goes up it can be there choice, either stay in the area now that it is nicer, or sell the land for profit and move to another area of their choosing.
The role of NGO is very important ,because it can drive to the right way as to the wrong way .
I am a catholic and the experience of the Catholic Church in Madagascar has been very important in the coup made the 17th march 2009 .
Because the catholic church has option for the poor this is why I think the catholic church in Madagascar was against the Madagascar Action Plan (MAP) promoted by the Malagasy President Ravalomanana .
The MAP is linked on "Trade but not Aid" ;but I think the Catholic Church in Madagascar is oriented on "Aid but not Trade".
The partner between Church State and Private ,is important ,and i think the Church can suport the private in this partnership between Public Private Partnership ,mainly when the locale people are not sized or fit to partner with the Public administration
But if the Church is linked on Charity businness ,then it becomes really dangerous ,because the Church will try to make a coup instead of fighting against poverty .


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