Archived page: may contain outdated information!

War, money and survival - FORUM issue on war and the economy

09-03-2000 News Release 00/08

 Published on 13 March  


To what extent do today's economic conditions cause war? Who profits and who loses out? Does business thrive on war? War, Money and Survival , the latest in the annual FORUM series (to be published by the ICRC on 13 March), focuses on the crucial relationship between war and the economy. Key decision-makers, journalists, academics and insiders from the worlds of business and humanitarian endeavour analyse the complex interactions between war and the economy. They set out the problems from their standpoint and discuss possible solutions.

" This issue aims to raise awareness and improve dialogue between people from outside who become involved in war-torn countries – be they from the private, public or non-governmental sectors " , says Gilles Carbonnier, an economist with the ICRC's Health and Relief Division and one of the editors. " The ultimate objective is to better assist the people affected by armed conflict. "

" The ICRC hopes that this issue of FORUM will contribute to a cruelly topical discussion " , Mr Carbonnier goes on. " Understanding the complex interactions between war and the economy is vital, not only for companies operating in unstable areas but also for humanitarian organizations working in an ever more complex environment. "

 War, Money and Survival discusses these issues under four headings:

  •  Globalization and war looks at the overall relationship between globalization and the ever-changing pattern of warfare. It also studies the twin processes of economic and political liberalization, and assesses how making aid subject to certain conditions affects war-torn countries.

  •  Money and war sheds light on the economic dynamics of war. Focusing on the underlying economic causes, one author argues that economics constitutes a new analytical tool for understanding conflicts in the post-Cold-War era. Contributors also look at non-governmental entities involved in conflicts, beginning with mercenaries and security firms. A journalist, a businessman and an agency that rates corporate conduct discuss, from their own individual perspectives, the matter of doing business in war-prone regions. The development of the " relief industry " is also addressed.

  •  Survival and war looks at the variety of coping mechanisms used by people living in war zones and refugee camps.

  • The concluding section, International aid , takes a critical look at the impact of humanitarian aid on local economies. One author suggests how to minimize potential negative side-effects while humanitarian and development organizations explain how they have adapted their strategies to cope with today's emergencies.

 FORUM is available for 20 Swiss francs from the ICRC's Public Information Centre

(postal ad dress: 19 Avenue de la Paix, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland; e-mail:; copies may also be ordered through the ICRC's website: