The impact of socio-economic inequality on peacebuilding and statebuilding

Oliver P. Richmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Neoliberalism assumes that inequality creates productive competition and no risk of conflict where a viable state and social contract exists. From a critical position, inequality in a range of different forms (local to global in scale)weakens the links between civil society, solidarity, social justice, human rights and democracy. These positions have different implications for peace and order. State institutions are designed to make processes of consensual regulation permanent for the good of society. While continuing material inequality is inevitable, if the state and international community cannot mitigate its impact on security, rights and representation, in order to distribute a range of peace dividends, citizens rapidly begin to question the point of the state and undermine its legitimacy. Struggles over power, material resources and identity are thus untreated. This is especially problematic where the state also has been shaped through a peace agreement. Ironically, material inequality often lacking a Rawlsian justification of producing wider benefits of a peace dividend for society has been naturalised through peacebuilding and statebuilding, even though strong evidence suggests inequality is also at the root of many conflicts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-467
Number of pages19
JournalCivil Wars
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2014

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