A new book by a West Virginia University professor claims postwar reconstruction in Iraq is doomed because of bureaucratic mistakes.
InAfter War: The Political Economy of Exporting Democracy,Christopher Coyne, assistant professor in the College of Business and Economics, examines the war in Iraqa topic typically tackled by historians, policymakers and political scientistsfrom an economic point of view and why democracy works better in some places than others.
Historically, the United States has attempted to generate change in foreign countries by exporting liberal democratic institutions through military occupation and reconstruction,he said.”Despite these efforts, the record of U.S.-led reconstructions has been mixed at best. For every West Germany or Japan, there is a Cuba, Haiti, Somalia or Vietnamand more recently, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Economics focuses on how incentives influence human action, Coyne said, and efforts to export democracy by military intervention will fail if there are no economic incentives for citizens.
In his book, he argues that the ability to create incentives is limited by several factors.
While the characteristics of liberal democracythe protection of civil, political and property rights, as well as the rule of lawwould seem to have universal appeal, we know very little about how to foster them,Coyne said.
The book illustrates this problem with examples from past and current reconstruction efforts.
Coyne will sign copies of his book from 6-8 p.m. Friday (Dec. 7) at Barnes and Noble in the University Towne Center.