Economic science has extensively studied the creative power of individuals and social groups, but it has largely ignored the destructive power of economic agents. This highly original book redresses the balance and, for the first time, looks at how much an agent can destroy. Destructive power is conceptualised in a unique way, covering all types of deliberate (violent and non-violent) social conflict behaviour. The theoretical arguments in the book are skilfully linked to burning political issues of our time such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Second Gulf War.
The author embraces destructive power in its two different functions, namely appropriative and rule-producing, the latter having been entirely neglected in classical and neo-classical approaches. The focus of the book is to integrate both these functions of destructive power into the political economy discourse. In doing so, the author offers an original interpretation of social development in terms of a combination of three different types of power: creative (economic), destructive and moral. Destructive power is therefore studied within the scope of collective action and not just as an irrational, abnormal or critical reaction. Throughout the book, the author illustrates many relevant and thought-provoking examples of man’s destructive nature including civil war, military confrontation, guerrilla warfare, terrorism, revolution, strikes, sovereignty, public security and suicide.
This fascinating book offers a challenging new agenda for understanding conflict theory and measuring the ‘value’ of destructive power. It will appeal to a broad and varied readership from a range of disciplines across the social sciences including economics, politics, sociology, history and psychology.