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Understanding and Assessing Risk of Intrastate Conflict: Human Development Theory and Practice

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Understanding human development is perhaps more relevant today than at any other moment in history. Although the United States is very good at using destructive power against its adversaries, preventing conflict and reaching a desirable end state often eludes it. A better understanding of human behavior in general, and human development specifically, may help it do both. If capability and will together are given as the ultimate, necessary and sufficient cause of violent conflict, then understanding human motivation and behavior is essential. Human behavior is the outcome of individual motivation and interaction with other people, institutions, and the environment. The conditions that these elements constitute significantly affect the ability of individuals to live, grow, develop and live the life that the individual values. Human development is a sustainable increase in individual capability to meet ones needs when conditions do not permit this individual frustration may lead to violent behavior. This paper explores the lack of human development as the cause of intrastate conflict. The research includes an analysis of human needs and the means to satisfy them at the individual and national levels. Risk assessment models for case studies in Latin America provide for a richer understanding of human development and its link to violent conflict. Furthermore, the risk assessments depict trends in human development and risks of intrastate conflict. Ultimately, the model is both a framework for investigation as well as a practical tool for strategic warning and nation building.

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  • Sociology and Law
  • Psychology

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