Closing the Transition Gap: The Rule of Law Imperative in Stabilization Environments
Written by Brock Dahl
Expeditionary Economics addresses means for properly enabling private sector led growth in transitional environments. In order to invest and grow, the private sector requires some modicum of stability and institutional reliability. Transitional environments, however, are often typified by a political economy within which powerful nonstate actors develop inappropriate alliances with state officials and run illicit enterprises that violate the rights of their fellow citizens and suffocate licit entrepreneurial growth. Where essential stabilization steps required to fight these alliances are neglected, a “transition gap” arises, and the state, increasingly viewed by its citizens as corrupt and ineffective, loses legitimacy. This paper argues that stabilizing forces have strategic, moral, and legal obligations to immediately establish effective rule of law institutions in the wake of interventions. More specifically, stabilizing forces must establish (or support) institutions that are capable of preventing, investigating, and punishing corruption and criminality. To date, these obligations have not been adequately recognized or resourced.
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