Rooted in violence: civil war, international trade and the expansion of palm oil in Colombia

Maher, DJ ORCID: 2015, 'Rooted in violence: civil war, international trade and the expansion of palm oil in Colombia' , New Political Economy, 20 (2) , pp. 299-330.

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Internal armed conflict severely inhibits economic growth according to a prominent set of civil war literature. Similarly, emerging scholarship finds that civil war inhibits processes of economic globalisation which are argued to produce economic growth. A case in point is international trade, which is reportedly stymied by intra-state war. In contrast, this article employs a critical theoretical framework which acknowledges the often violent tendencies of globalised capitalism. By analysing Colombia’s palm oil industry, this article argues that civil war violence can facilitate international trade. In the case study which is presented, violence perpetrated by Colombia’s public armed forces and right-wing paramilitaries has enabled the palm oil sector to enter and compete in the globalised economy. This includes processes of forced displacement, which have acquired land for palm oil cultivation, and violence directed at civil groups deemed inimical to the interests of the palm oil sector. By employing a micro-level approach, this article attempts to isolate violent trends related to palm oil cultivation in Meta, the largest African palm growing region in Colombia. An attempt is therefore made to give an empirically informed account of how violence in Colombia’s civil war is facilitating palm oil exports.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for Democracy and Human Rights
Journal or Publication Title: New Political Economy
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1356-3467
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: Dr DJ Maher
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2014 15:29
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 18:36

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