One of a series of 13 briefs exploring the strengths and weaknesses of the policies advocated in Paul Collier's controversial and influential book 'The Bottom Billion'.
Are civil wars caused by real grievances or by greed and the opportunity to profit? Paul Collier's assertion of the greed hypothesis, restated in The Bottom Billion, has generated impassioned denunciations, based on the many case studies attributing civil wars and rebellions to abuses, inequalities and injustices. This In Focus brief examines the role that these grievances play in conflict and highlights the work of a range of authors. It also explores how state weakness is a major contributor to civil war, and assesses the merits and shortcomings of Collier's contribution to the contentious conflict debate.
IDS In Focus Issue 3.7, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK, 4 pp.