Author Archives: Michael J. Watts

About Michael J. Watts

Class of '63 Professor of Geography and director of development studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught for thirty years. He served as the director of the Institute of International Studies at Berkeley from 1994 to 2004. His research has addressed a number of development issues, especially food security, resource development, and land reform in Africa, South Asia, and Vietnam. Over the last twenty years, he has written extensively on the oil industry, especially in West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea. His most recent book is The Curse of the Black Gold: Fifty Years of Oil in the Niger Delta (powerHouse Books, 2008) with photographer Ed Kashi.

Economies of Violence: Reflections on the WORLD DEVELOPMENT REPORT 2011

The World Bank Development Report 2011 addresses the developmental challenges of violent conflict and fragile states. Central to this analysis is the notion of war as development in reverse and recursive violence in a number of conflict-prone states. The costs of violence can be addressed through the optic of legitimate political institutions in which citizen rights and justice are central. Watts examines the Bank’s important analysis and the conceptual approach they adopt in their account of the development-conflict nexus. He explores the forms of violence (so-called “new conflicts”) and their dynamics, and how the policy prescriptions proposed stand in relation to the historical role and character of the multilateral and bilateral development institutions.