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Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 89, Supplement 4, pp 515–528 | Cite as

New Convergences in Poverty Reduction, Conflict, and State Fragility: What Business Should Know

  • Borany Penh
Article

Abstract

A common moral imperative to reduce human suffering in developing countries has helped to bring the international poverty reduction and conflict mitigation agendas together. But while research and practice are well established in the fields of poverty and conflict, the nexus between these two fields at the theoretical and practical levels is largely nascent. Lack of a shared body of knowledge has arguably impeded the ability of these communities to work together toward the overlapping goals of reducing poverty and conflict in countries affected by violence and instability. Business, as a key sector of the international community, could potentially make significant contributions to the joint agenda if it were better integrated in efforts to develop the nexus. This article surveys the current states-of-knowledge in the fields of poverty and conflict, including the increasing influence of the fragile states theory. It then discusses some of the major schools of thought helping to bring poverty reduction efforts into alliance with conflict mitigation efforts. The third section identifies important conceptual convergences and divergences between the fields and reconsiders the prominent assumption that economic opportunity can be a powerful incentive for peace and stability. Finally, this article discusses potential areas that could advance the nexus of poverty and conflict at both a theoretical and practical level.

Keywords

business commerce conflict international development peace poverty state fragility 

Abbreviations

BOP

Bottom/base of the pyramid

CDR

Community-driven reconstruction

CSR

Corporate social responsibility

DDR

Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration

DFID

Department for International Development (of the United Kingdom)

EITI

Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

HDI

Human Development Index

ICT

Information communication technology

IDP

Internally displaced person

IMF

International Monetary Fund

KPCS

Kimberly Process Certification Scheme

MDGs

Millennium Development Goals

MDG1

Millennium Development Goal One

NIE

New Institutional Economics

OECD

Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development

PTC

Peace through Commerce

PRS

Poverty Reduction Strategy

SLA

Sustainable Livelihoods Approach

UNDP

United Nations Development Programme

UNHCR

United Nations High Commission for Refugee

USAID

United States Agency for International Development

WFP

World Food Programme

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Office of Poverty ReductionU.S. Agency for International DevelopmentWashingtonU.S.A.

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