Inclusive Elite Bargains and the Dilemma of Unproductive Peace: a Zambian case study
Author: Stefan Lindemann
Size: 28 pages (607 KB)
This paper offers a theoretical framework of elite bargains and draws on the case of Zambia to show that the priorities of peacebuilding can conflict with those of economic development. In Zambia, elite bargains have helped to avoid civil war but they have also constrained the economy, resulting in an unproductive peace. The study argues that while inclusive power structures are indispensable for preserving peace and stability, it is important to recognise that a trade-off might be needed between power-sharing and economic development.
Elite bargains describe the extent to which rulers have used the distribution of positions of state power to accommodate the dominant cleavages in society (ethnicity, language, region, religion, class and so on). Inclusive elite bargains exist where rulers provide representatives of contending social groups with balanced access to positions of state power, while exclusionary elite bargains involve a biased inter-group distribution of public appointments.
Measuring the inclusiveness of an elite bargain involves focusing on the extent to which positions of political, military and economic power are shared between members of competing social groups:
Previous research suggests that inclusive elite bargains will be conducive to both peace and economic development. In Zambia, however, this study finds that inclusive elite bargains have been accompanied by persistent economic stagnation as well as by enduring peace. It seems that, in Zambia, there was no alternative to sacrificing economic development for the sake of peace, especially in the early decades of postcolonial rule when the country's unity was extremely fragile:
There is evidence that the Zambian dilemma of unproductive peace also affects other countries in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. More research is needed.
Lindemann, S., 2011, 'Inclusive Elite Bargains and the Dilemma of Unproductive Peace: a Zambian case study', Third World Quarterly, vol.32, no.10, pp.1843-1869