Predicting Systemic Risk (war edition)

A recent article over at Radio Netherlands cites the recent case of a computer model predicting war in the Cameroons:

Can computers predict war?
BY MICHELE ERNSTING
04-04-2008

The recent outbreak of violence in Cameroon seems to come out of the blue. But in fact this instability was predicted by Monty Marshall and his colleagues at the Centre for Systemic Peace back in 2005.

Dr Marshall developed a computer model whereby he can actually predict not only where, but to a certain extent when violent conflicts will break out in the world. But even he was surprised when his model pointed to Cameroon. “When it came up with Cameroon, it was out of the blue” says Marshall. “Nothing had happened in Cameroon since independence. I thought, this is a good test of the model!”

….

Oil prices and democracy as conflict triggers

So what should be done with this information? Marshall’s answer reveals the connection between high energy prices and high food prices.

“The biggest issue right now is the need to develop a global energy policy… The one situation which has the greatest potential for leading into the greatest scope of armed conflict is the increasing competition for oil resources. The other issue is the shift towards greater democratisation. We’re inducing countries to take on this form of open governance without assisting them in managing the conflicts that they are likely to face while discouraging them form using the coercive option. We don’t have the will in our policies to assist them.”

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Predicting Systemic Risk (war edition)

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