Ethnic and racial conflict is a very basic occurring in recent times. Conflicts related to race or ethnicity can be both catastrophic and cohesive depending on the situation. These conflicts can be a cause for calamity for some groups and can also be used to unite certain groups. The racial and ethnic groups generally is the maker for boundaries between the groups that perceive distinct values and interests than them. Conflicts as these, can result in many negative forces being spread in the society (Tepfenhart 2013). These conflicts can stop or slow down the development process in many areas, especially in poor countries. Ethnic and racial conflicts can also be aligned with political, cultural and territorial conflicts which can result in it being a threat to the security and peace of any country. Depending on the situation, the conflicts can become violent and leads to suffering among the country and its people (Stavenhagen 2016). There are many case studies which discusses about the impact of racial and ethnic conflicts on the development of the people of the poor countries. Conflicts which arise from such differences can lead to death, destruction and bring suffering into the lives of the people. The conflicts are many in different parts of the world between various ethnic groups who try to eliminate one another. This essay will take into account different case studies which relate to the various ethnic and racial conflicts in different areas and critically analyse them. The further paragraphs will also present an argument of the analysis, followed by a conclusion.
According to Bishram (2015), Guyana, a country in South America, have derived political independence, but not prior to it experiencing a huge racial conflict between the Africans and the Indians, which left many individuals wounded and even dead. Many experienced psychological trauma and some face losses in terms of finance and property. The economy faced a major setback as the money of the country continued to flow out of the country and hence stopped any kind of investment that the people were making in the country. The case study used the methodology of historical, interpretive and empirical data to do the research. The case study used primary data as well as secondary data to fulfil the requirement of the research. It has been derived from the case study that Guyana is a country with individuals from many racial and ethnic backgrounds due to the heavy immigration and colonization in the country. The white race was very dominant in the country and led forward the diversification of the different ethnic group and hence creating a division in the country. The relations between these groups were very unstable and people often reacted to each other based on these differences which created many problems in the stability of the country. The groups were also provoked against each other so that there would be more capital gain because of the competition that would arise among the groups. Guyana is a country which has lot of plantations where people from different ethnic groups worked as labours and these plantations were mainly owned by the white people. These while individuals often enraged the different ethnic groups and created conflicts which would result in emergence of violence, which mostly turned physical. This kind of conflict was created to divert the attention of the groups from the exploitation that was being done to them in the plantation, to one another. This rivalry and tension between the groups was what kept them divided and raised various serious conflicts. Conflicts like these and also the daily conflicts that arose between different racial groups in the country, impacted the development of the country. The groups were continuously at each other’s throats and always found ways to harm each other. These led to the downfall of the economy and also hurt the population of the country. Political parties also supported many of these conflicts to gain votes for themselves depending on the number of people who supported them. Due to government intervention, it became almost impossible to eradicate the conflict in the country and maintain peace (Ray and Esteban 2017). Hence, to achieve power, the political parties threw the country at harm. Therefore, the country has not been able to give equal importance to the whole population and created obstacles for any betterment in the country and among its people. The conflict had hence stopped the individuals of the ethnic and racial groups to not being able to understand their full potential and contribute to the development of the country. Another case study that describe the impact of ethnic and racial groups on the development of the country is the impact that it had on Kenya (Nyiri 2014). The case study mostly used secondary data to collect information about the impact of ethnic conflict on the economy and the development of Kenya. The conflict in Kenya have always been between the three ethnic groups namely Bantu, Nilotes and Cushites. These three ethnic communities have around 42 tribes which constitutes of individuals of different cultures. These ethnic groups have been on war among themselves to make themselves powerful than the other and to gain control over the land and other aspects of the country and to be powerful that one another. Even though the magnitude of the conflicts that occur in Kenya are small, however, there have are many areas where the conflicts are often repeated and hence a greater impact is created (Venkatasawmy 2015). Due to these ethnic groups, there are many political parties which take the advantage of the conflicts that arise and make use of it to gain political power and precedence over the public. The leaders target those individuals of the ethnic groups who are not able to contribute well to the development of the country and hence this lowers the productivity of the country. Stability and peace is required for any country to flourish and hence when conflict arises in any part of the country, the peace is disrupted resulting in major unrest within the country. Moreover, any kind of conflict can destroy every aspect of the environment that was created during a stable time. The violence that erupts destroys infrastructures, buildings, contributes to the loss of the lives of people and affects the economic aspect of the country to a great deal. The after effects of a conflict are such that it could take a lot of time to bring the country to its old condition and hence the country suffers a lot of drawback during that period. In the case study, Reksulak discusses about a model which is known as the Standard growth regression model. According to this model, the per capita growth rate of a country is affected by ethnic conflicts and polarization. The tension that arises due to these conflicts makes the public lethargic and unwilling to work and hence the production becomes very low during this time. The conflicts makes the people doubt the condition of the country and the government and hence they become uncertain to carry put any kind of activity for the economic development or are willing to invest in any structure, in the fear that their effort or investment might go to waste. People also spend most of their income in finding safe solutions for residence where they would not be affected by the conflict. Ethnic conflicts can be unequal for the public of a country, while sine are affected to a great deal by the violence, some can also flourish from the negative aspects of the conflict. The conflicts results in exploiting the natural resources of the country and reducing the GDP of the manufacturing sector if the country. The labour class is also affected by the conflicts that arise in many of the manufacturing sectors. It can be said that most conflicts normally arise among the labour class and the working people itself because many individuals from different ethnic and racial backgrounds work together and can differ in values and ideas which might result in conflicts. The conflicts that arise in African are the major contributor for the slow growth process of development in different African countries. The conflicts provide a huge impact on the economic policies, the financial condition and the income of the people of the country. Hence, it has been derived from the case study that even though ethnicity itself is not the cause for war, however, the unrest that is caused due to the divisions of the groups is what results in war and further impacts the development of a country such as Kenya. There are many theories that explain ethnicity and the ethnic conflicts that arise and their reasons. There are mainly three paradigms to this issue that the mostly discussed (Mohammadzadeh 2016). First and foremost is the primordial views which emphasizes on the basis of ethnicity and the impact that it has on the structuring of different individuals. The scholars who propose the primordial views states that the ethnic groups are in existence due to the views and beliefs that they share towards prehistoric things such as biological features and various territorial areas. The concept of the primordial account depends on the friendship and the closeness that people of same ethnicity and belonging to an ethnic group share with each other. In this view there are many sociologists and scientists that say that ethnic conflicts between different groups are non-existent in reality and that conflicts arise due to political, economic and institutional reasons. They argue that the ethnic wars between different groups is a misleading concept as people are bound to fight each other due to the difference in political views and not due to their traditional and belief differences (Vermunt 2017). The instrumentalist view is the second paradigm regarding ethnicity and ethnic conflicts. This view states that ethnic conflicts are caused due to many reasons. This view came into existence in the year 19060 and 1970 in America, when the debate arose that the white ethnic group was more persistence in the melting pot of the country. In this view, ethnicity and racial groups are found to have instrumentalist individuals who are organized in such ways so as to reach articular solutions (Harff 2018). In the instrumentalist view, the fact that ethnic diversity is the reason for major conflicts is not rejected and many individuals believe that even they fight or engage in conflicts due to the same differences. They share the view that ethic differences might not be the only reason for a conflict and that there are various other reasons along with ethnic diversity such as inequality among the people of various groups in a social relation and the discrimination that is done to the people of those groups. Lastly, constructive view stresses on the importance that socially made ethnic groups have in the society and the nature of those groups in a particular community (Caselli and Coleman 2013). The scholars who proposed this view focused on the example of Rwanda where the Tutsi and Hutu difference was segmented by the Belgian colonial power according to the cattle ownership, the physical measurements and the church records of the individuals. The identity cards that were issued to the individuals were done on those bases and the documents played a very important role in the genocide of 1994. The scholars who dealt with ethnicity and ethnic conflicts derived many new theories and concepts from involving and combining these three paradigms. In the Geography of Ethnic Violence, it is shown the settle patterns of the ethnic groups and how socially built up identities, leader of the groups, the issue of indivisibility can lead the people of the group to escalate a small dispute to a conflict. This concept is based on the three traditional school of thoughts combined. Another model that was built that stated that relative deprivation which is the lack of basic resources of life are what results in the discrimination of different groups (Rutherford et al. 2015). When an individual or a group is relatively deprived from the way of living that they are accustomed to then conflicts arise with time. Various other case studies have also been conducted which explains the impact that racial and ethnic conflicts have on the development process of the poor countries like Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Guyana and others. The increase in the ethnic and racial diversity in these countries and the poor government system that these countries have are also a result if the conflicts. Proper policies and steps are not been taken by the government to ensure that people of different ethnic and racial groups can live together in peace and harmony. Moreover, political parties make the use of this difference among the groups and use it to their advantage to gain more political access and misuse their power, not thinking about the effect that it would cause on the economy and the development of the country. Furthermore, the cultural difference is also a reason of the conflicts and emerging violence among the people. The difference in social and political views also acts as a catalyst for those conflicts (Smith and Pettigrew 2015). People start violence when they are unable to manipulate the thoughts and the views of other groups and try to do so by violent methods or by complete eradicating the problems with conflicts and harming individuals. Hence, it can be said that the ethnic and racial conflicts have a great deal of negative impact on the development and economy of especially the poor countries as they do not possess the strong government policies to tackle and eradicate the issue. Even though there might be other reasons for the lack of development in these countries, ethnic and racial diversity remains the major cause.
As discussed in the previous paragraphs, it is said that ethnic conflicts have a great impact on the development of poor countries. However, there have been many arguments regarding this issue, where it is said that ethnic conflicts are not the main or even the major reason for the lack of development in poor countries. It is evident that a conflict in any part of the country affects the whole country, but the conflict does not primarily arise due to ethnic and racial diversity. There are various other reasons for conflict and also for the slow development process in poor countries. Firstly, the main reason for lack of development of any less developed country is the corruption among the political parties of that country and the individuals who have power (Justesen and Bjørnskov 2014). Political parties are mostly engaged in a political power war with one another and they use the resources of the country to gain more power and establish their precedence in the country. In doing so, they so not think about the effect that it might have on the country itself and disrupt the wellbeing of the nation. People are not been taken care of and the political parties make use of the disadvantages among the people of the country to fulfil their desire of ruling the country. They try to manipulate the people into gaining their trust to rule the country without thinking about the things that it can do for the betterment of the country (Rose-Ackerman and Palifka 2016). Secondly, the population rate of poor countries are relatively higher than any other country (Buhaug and Urdal 2013). This is because of the lack in proper income among the families as most of them live in poverty. Hence to compensate for their economic drawback they increase the population in their families so that more income can be incurred by more members of the family. However, this gives a negative effect on the economy of the country as the country is unable to supply the increasing population with proper food, resources and the desired income sources as well (Simon 2014). The lack of proper sources results in the population being diverted towards negative ways to gain income for their livelihood which gives a negative impact on the country. However, if the countries can find out the right ways to properly train the surplus population, then huge positive gains can be derived from them which can help majorly in developing the economy of the country. Thirdly, the economic inequality among the different population groups is huge in poor countries (Milanovic 2013). This is because the population of the country is comprised of either rich people or people who live in poverty. This economic inequality creates an unrest among the poor people as they are not able to gain anything through their hard work, whereas the rich society is getting richer due to their power and wealth. Moreover, in such countries the labour class is not paid according to the kind of work that they do. They are exploited and discriminated and might not even be paid on some occasions Ostry, Berg and Tsangarides 2014). Due to this persistence inequality in the country, much if the female population are trafficked or exploited each year for money. Even children are taken away from schools by their family and involved in many jobs where they are appointed as child labours. The poor people also find various ways to earn money to attain their daily livelihood which might not always be ethical and safe and are also creating huge impact on the country in the long run. Lastly, the external factors mentioned above are not always the reasons for the lack of development in the poor countries. Even internal factors like the mentality of the poor people also act as an obstacle for the development of the country (Landes 2015). Poor people are generally used to the idea of being poor and do not believe in adopting proper ways to elevate their status in the society even if opportunities are provided to them. They focus on only one thing and that is incurring money in any way to live their life. The concept of education is not always adopted within the poor people as they do not believe that education can make their lives better. Even if they do not want to educate their children, there are numerous small jobs which can be done by the people to earn a daily income. Instead of doing so, they create issues and conflicts which they feel would help them get out of their poverty. However, this does not happen as they further deteriorate due to these conflicts and face the same problems that they have been facing before (Royce 2018). Therefore, it can be said that there are many reasons which can be established to explain that the lack of developmental progress in poor countries cannot always be blamed on the ethnic groups and their conflicts. The above mentioned cam also be reasons for various conflicts and also among the people who belong to the same ethnic group. There is always a constant war which have been persistent for a long time among the rich and the poor people. This conflict have been taking place for ages due to the economic imbalance among the population of the country. It can happen that some of those people belong to the same ethnic group, however, it does not stop them from being involved in conflict with each other. Furthermore, people of the same community also engage in conflict due to issues which might arise among themselves ignoring all ethnic or racial differences that they might have among themselves. Therefore, it is the work of the government of the poor countries to first stabilize themselves and make clear policies and views regarding the development of the country. A clear economic and development vision is required by those in power to elevate those who have are dependent on them. If the people in power work together for the betterment of the people of the country and themselves in an honest way then everyone can work together to form a developed country.
Hence, it can be concluded from the above paragraphs that ethnic and racial conflicts have a great impact on the development of the poor countries. This is evident from the case studies of Guyana and Kenya, where the impact of the ethnic conflicts are critically analysed and explained. The reasons mentioned in both case studies are almost similar, mainly concentrating on the misuse of the conflict of the ethnic groups by the political parties. However, as discussed above the ethnic conflicts are not the main reason which creates an impact on the development of the poor countries. There are various other reasons like corruption in the government, the existing mentality of the poor people, the lack of opportunity in the poor countries or the lack of trained people or the proper training methods to use the surplus population properly. Hence, ethnic and racial diversities cannot be blamed alone for the lack of progress in the development of the poor countries. It can be concluded that a country will only be able to develop if all aspects of the society are kept in order.
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