September Special

National Security-Peace-Economic Growth Nexus

National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic power, diplomacy, power projection and political power. Initially focusing on military might; it now encompasses a broad range of facets, all of which impinge on the non-military or economic security of the nation and the values promoted by the domestic society. Accordingly, to possess national security, a nation needs to also possess economic security, energy security, environmental security, etc. Security threats involve not only conventional foes such as other nation-states but also non-state actors such as violent non-state actors and narcotic cartels.
 

Nexus between national security, peace and economic growth is important and well-established. This nexus is important because growth and development cannot occur in the absence of security and peace, while peace and security without growth and development might not sustain. Similarly, without peace and security, poverty eradication is not possible, and without poverty eradication no sustainable peace will occur.

No one questions anymore about the role that economic growth and development plays in preventing conflicts, ensuring durable exits from conflicts and for accompanying crisis management through protective, confidence-building and crisis-alleviating measures. These assertions based on global experience certainly have important implications for Pakistan given the prevailing peace and security situation in the country.

National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic power, diplomacy, power projection and political power. Initially focusing on military might; it now encompasses a broad range of facets, all of which impinge on the non-military or economic security of the nation and the values promoted by the domestic society. Accordingly, to possess national security, a nation needs to also possess economic security, energy security, environmental security, etc. Security threats involve not only conventional foes such as other nation-states but also non-state actors such as violent non-state actors and narcotic cartels.

Peace is defined as a time without any fights or wars. In a broader sense, peace can mean a state of harmony, quiet or calm that is not disturbed by anything at all. A person who is not able to go about the ordinary business of life without the constant threat of violence cannot said to be living in a state of peace. Peace within and among states is a goal of people and organizations.

Economic growth is the increase in market value of the goods and services produced by an economy over time. It is conventionally measured as the percent rate of increase in real Gross Domestic Product (real GDP).

With national security intact, which also include economic or financial security, there are less internal conflicts and as a result peace in the country is secured. Regional and international peace comes when countries are more secure from external conflicts and threats. Strongly secured countries face fewer internal and external threats than weakly secured countries.

When security of a country is strong then more resources are available for investment purposes. Consequently, there will be increase in economic growth. At the same time, with economic security, overall demand in the country rises which results into higher economic growth. National security is thus inextricably linked with economic growth and development.

Countries having strong defence capabilities also have high defence-related production that helps in achieving high economic growth. This is because defence production needs industrial raw materials and intermediate inputs produced by other industries and support services provided by companies working in the private sector. These supplies to defence production industries promote growth in rest of the economy.

Based on global experience, the proponents suggest that growth and development encourages peace. People in better economic condition are less likely to initiate violent conflict both because they are more content and because they have more to lose from the physical danger and economic disruption that wars and conflict bring. The critiques argue that development discourages peace, either because the continued development of some depends on their forceful suppression or control of others or because development increases the capacity to build and mobilize military power. Still others argue that development and peace have no significant connection to each other.

The global experience shows that countries that have strong security and peace have strong economies. In this context, it may be noted that in 2014, Iceland was on the top of Global Peace Index, followed by Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland, Finland, and Canada. All of these countries are not only peaceful but they are also secure and are economically very strong. According to Global Peace Index, Pakistan was ranked 115th in 2007, ranked 127th in 2008, and 137th in 2009. If we link this peace index trends with trends in economic growth then it may be noted that in 2007 Pakistan's GDP growth rate was 5.2%, in 2008 it was 2.7%, and in 2009 it was 1.5%. Thus with loss of peace, the economic growth decelerated.

The above trends show that more secured a country is more peaceful it is and consequently is economically strong, innovative, prosperous and sustainable. Secured countries that attain peace are more open to international trade and investment. They are thus more integrated internationally as well as regionally. Such countries are drivers of international security and peace. With higher economic growth more resources are available for national security around the globe and more peaceful the world is. In this context, couple of decades after the World War II is a case in point when the world witnessed an era of better security, more peace amongst nations and tranquility and hence high economic growth. Consequently, people in the world at large experienced prosperity and better living standards.

The implementation challenge for a strong security-peace-development nexus is competition among them. In order to have a strong nexus, it is necessary to bridge the gap between various policy communities with different perspectives and agendas. The gap can be filled by creating mutual comprehension among policy communities in such a way that security experts appreciate the development policies and likewise development community fully support the fields of security and consider them as complementing their own work.

There are also major coordination problems between ministries. For instance, Defence and Economic ministries do not always share the same objectives and priorities, and they have different structures, mandates, practices, institutional policies and time frames for action. One must not shy away from the fact that behind these problems lies a competition for funds and competences.

While it does seem quite obvious that security and development go hand in hand, the complex causal connections are difficult to establish. This means that implementation has to be properly tailored according to ground realities.

In the end, the fact that a virtuous circle between growth and peace makes it easier to achieve both, is encouraging. But it does not relieve us of either the responsibility or the hard work required to make this hopeful connection effective.


The writer is a Professor of Economics at School of Social Sciences and Humanities at NUST, Islamabad            [email protected]

Read 468 times


TOP