Zara’s Space on the Web – Musings

April 11, 2009

Payments for Environmental Services Peace

(Before reading this note, if you are not familiar with payments for environmental services, you may want to look at this link )

I was watching the February 10th episode of The Daily Show last night (my friend pointed out the reason we know more about american politics than British politics is that Jon Stewart makes it worth knowing about) and his interview for the night was with Thomas Ricks, author of Fiasco ). You can find the interview here.

During the interview, Stewart and Ricks talked about how the Americans, or rather General Petraeus, decided to pay the Iraqis; not just the allies, but the people trying to kill them as well, in order to… well, get them to stop trying to kill them.

In actual fact, during the interview, Ricks tells an ancedote about how an american soldier turns to one of the insurgents and says “You still want to kill me?”, to which he replies “Yes, but not today”.

Now is it just me or does this remind anybody else about payments for environmental services, but instead of environmental services, for peace? It has never crossed my mind that people who may be trying to kill people would actually have a willingness to accept to change their behaviour. The situation even addresses continual payment (so long as you keep paying me, I will not cut down this lovely rainforest do not want to kill you today).

Of course an interesting question here is “how are the insurgents using this money?” Another interesting and related question is, “What does this money substitute for?”, and question that is related to both of these questions is “How much can the americans pay or what can they do to permanently change insurgents’ behaviour?”  Is the money they’re paying them “Giving a man a fish” rather than “Teaching him how to fish”?

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