“The Political Marketplace”: Developing a Framework for Addressing the Real Politics of Coercion and Corruption

A briefing report summarizing the main themes and case- studies from the WPF seminar on 12 – 13 June, 2014, “The Political Marketplace”: Developing a Framework for Addressing the Real Politics of Coercion and Corruption, is available on our website. Below is brief excerpt.


Existing models for peace-making, state-building and stabilization, which assume that “fragile states” can move, under international tutelage and sponsorship, towards capable and legitimate states, are wrong. Peace agreements that consist primarily in allocating rents to belligerents only reinforce the logic of a rent-based political marketplace. Indeed, international efforts to achieve stabilization and state-building by channeling effort and resources through governments are more often counterproductive than not.

Rethinking is needed especially in the case of overt political marketplace systems. These are places where:

(a) Political disputes are not resolved by institutional rules and procedures;

(b) Control over the instruments of violence is dispersed;

(c) Political finance is in the hands of political, military or corporate interests; and

(d) They are integrated into the global order in a subordinate position.

It follows that we need to develop an alternative language, framework and metrics that are honest to the realities of these countries. Case studies discussed in this seminar include: Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, Somalia, Egypt, Tunisia and Afghanistan. We hope that this can be the basis for a frank discussion about the problems of violence and corruption that they face.

For many scholars and practitioners who have worked in so-called “fragile states,” from Afghanistan to Mali, and in states purportedly in “transitions to democracy,” from Burma to Tunisia, the existing models and language for state-building simply do not fit reality. Specialists involved in military stabilization efforts, peacekeeping, governance and security sector reform, economic development and law enforcement, share a similar set of concerns: the concepts and language they are obliged to use in their professional lives do not match with the lived realities of the countries in which they are working.

In extremis, one participant described how international officials in Somalia spent their office hours working on systems and procedures that they knew were a fantastical construction, and in the evening secretly read the papers of political analysts to find out what was really going on—like clandestine users of pornography. Meanwhile, any Somali officials who spoke publicly about the “real politics” of the country, including the graft, patronage payouts and commercial-political bargaining, would be treated as if they were breaking the rules of acceptable behavior.

The seminar sets out to develop a set of conceptual tools and working models to allow political scientists and policymakers to bridge this gap.

You can access the full report here.


One thought on ““The Political Marketplace”: Developing a Framework for Addressing the Real Politics of Coercion and Corruption

  • August 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    The abuse of process that is currently being displayed in Ferguson Missouri is a perfect example of the abuse of police power that will become normal practice in your hometown if someone, in a position of authority, does not pay attention to the information I am sending you in this email.
    Think about it, who gives these policemen the power to abuse citizens? Who does give these good men with badges their power? Apparently all it takes to legally human traffic is a law degree or a badge, while, because we are white, and not generally the target of police brutality, we are next, and definitely we are in their sites.
    We sit by while white men with law degrees incarcerate a nation of black fatherless children, using their no tolerance laws, within the schools, until they have created an epidemic, The School To Prison Pipeline”, making all kinds things illegal, and for profit. Jail is currently one of the largest businesses in the United States.
    Tax payers spend $137 billion annually incarcerating people for marijuana related “crimes”, when the only crime generally committed in relation to marijuana is the fact that it has been made illegal for the profit of a few; judges, jails, attorneys, bondsmen and the police, and at the expense of all. Every time someone becomes arrested tax payers spend $1600.00, whether the “suspect” is found guilty or not.
    I live in a wealthy community. I know of five people dead, and all relating to the abuse of police power in our town. I’ve done my very best to expose them yet no one will listen. The local District Attorney, leaving office in a few days, is named a Defendant in a suit I filed Pro Se, because no one will help me.
    I caught our retiring District Attorney, a local attorney and someone within the TBI doing illegal activities in order to change laws so toxicology will go into private control, much like private probation in Alabama. He leaves office in a very few days, yet no one, it seems except me, is taking note of their publicized actions, which will lead to the continuation of the incarceration of humans for their profit.
    The summary of the Complaint is only 15 pages long. At least take a few minutes, please, and read excerpts from the legal complaint. As well, the entire complaint is attached, but the summary will be sufficient if you would read it please. No one will listen, and the third attachment is the response from Council for Defendant, recently retired, District Attorney, Bill Cox. They are in the process of shutting this case down. They are hoping no one pays attention to me. There’s no way for me to win, probably even with representation, but if Encourage Excellence is launched we can advertise until the public understands what needs to happen. The proceeds from sales, relating to Encourage Excellence will go to launch Choice Camp, established to circumvent the School to Prison Pipeline.
    I documented the corruption for twenty years, actually lived through it, have found a solution, yet no one will listen. Will you read the summary and respond favorably with help to me please?
    Katherine Cordell
    Founder EncourageExcellence.net
    423 509 4434

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