Annals of the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Economics, History and Political Science

The Annals is a forum for the free exchange of ideas
among scholars working in the field of social sciences
Volume LIII 1 - 2019

Militarism and Hegemonic (In)stability in the Age of Private Wars

Fabio Armao,
pp. 63-80
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For the last five centuries, nation-states have excelled in the art of war, thanks to the help of capitalism. Politics assumed the responsibility of determining whom to kill and why, of finding the ‘just cause’ for war. The market, on the other hand, occupied itself with supplying the instruments of slaughter. It is like saying that for centuries war has carried out a political, and therefore, public, function; but that private actors have always claimed wide margins of manoeuvre, and profit, in all the activities connected to its management. The end of the Cold War, together with the ongoing globalization processes, mark an unprecedented cleavage with the past: the public-private divide tends to be blurred. The ‘retreat of the state’ favors the triumph of the global market of war, which in turns fosters an increase in civil conflicts and an unprecedented proliferation of violent non-state actors (VNSAs), competing and conflicting among themselves and with the state for the control of urban environments. This evolution is redefining the very concept of war, bringing back the city at the center of the political conflict; and paving the way for the vindication of a new wave of urban militarism and hegemonic (in)stability.