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Old 11-10-2009   #1
MM12
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Default Economics and Irregular Warfare

Economics is arguably the second most important line of operation in irregular warfare from the strategic to the tactical level. Economics is mentioned many times in JP3-24, FM3-24, FM3-07, etc. How many of our commanders from the theater level down to the company commander understand the dynamics of economics. Who decides what type of economy should be established (Free market economy, state controlled, mixed, etc)? Can the programs established at the tactical level be sustainable by the local or national government? How much capital do we invest? There is a litany of other questions to this topic.

I ask this because we know that the other cabinets within our government lack the resources to project substantial personnel outside our nation’s borders. Therefore, this responsibility has fallen onto the hands of the military and now PRTs. Do our CPTs through COLs understand the impact they are having at the municipal level? Do our division commanders understand the impact at the state/provincial level? How do we prepare them for this task?

Interested to hear your comments on this.....
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Old 11-10-2009   #2
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MM12,

Congrats on your first post. You will get a better response if you first introduce yourself and explain your interests to provide context to your questions.

Thanks

Tom
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Old 11-10-2009   #3
vertnyc
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Default Stabilization, maybe Development, but definitely not Economics

I'm the Brigade Economic Development Officer for Task Force Stryker in Southern Afghanistan and I've done Zero Economic Development. I was sent to the University of Washington by the Brigade Commander for 6 months to learn about how to start small businesses in preparation for deployment to Iraq.

We are here now in Afghanistan and I spend most of my time focused on stabilization, which isn't taught in any of our officer courses or NCOES.

The COIN Academy in Camp Julien just had their inaugural Stability course in early November.

Stabilization, Development and Economics are linear processes in my mind. If the area does not have persistent security and the population's grievances are not addressed, then don't even worry about Development or "Economics."

I hate when USAID from Kabul comes down and talks about GDP. What does GDP have to do with anything in a remote village in Southern Afghanistan where they think the Russians are back?

Assuming that we get good at stabilization and start looking at development- that is a dangerous road for the military to take because we do not have the program management skills necessary for big development. If you mean development in terms of building a small well then perhaps we do...but I'd argue that we cannot even really build a well then QA/QC it.

Also building wells are stupid because it lowers the water table but that's a diffferent story.

The only other uses that my training has helped with is making sure CERP and/or other projects do not cause inflation in the economy or a rise in commodity prices like gravel and other construction material.

Anyways- fiscal discipline on the part of the military isn't good enough as other instruments of national power have programs which have budgets that I get the feeling "have to be expended" by a certain time. Which is bad. And it's really bad if you concentrate in only two Provinces and spend $240+ Million in the next 10 months.
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Old 11-10-2009   #4
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Default In Re... Vertnyc

Kind of a loaded question since our officers come from three commissioning sources... without a doubt the USMA Grads for thorough understanding of Micro, Macro and International Economics (SOSH Rules )... seriously USMA grads do get at least a semester of economics and when I left the three highest degree granting programs were 1. Econ, 2. Intl Relations, 3. American Politics... all in the Dept of Social Sciences... ergo most (of at least the MAJ and below) USMA grads do have more than an introductory education in econ...

Perhaps without realizing it... your whole last post showed a level of appreciation for the economic impact of operations -- a good thing...

However, if the question is whether our CPT-COL Commanders understand the impact they are making at the municipal level I'd shrug and say some yes some probably no... for some as you say it is still somewhere down the priority list that they haven't gotten to because they've as yet est. conditions necessary to think about micro development...

So was your post out of frustration with the green tabs in the BCT??? Kind of a you sent me for 6 mths to UW then ignore everything I have to say???

If so, have you addressed them with the BCT CDR? Do you have a seat at the table with the planners are you interacting with the plans shop of your higher hqs???

Best of Luck, Live well and row
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Old 11-12-2009   #5
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Well to introduce myself, I am a CPT in the US Army. I have some fellow friends in Afghanistan and Iraq who are commanders, BN S3A, or BN/BDE S4s. I have heard from them including my personal experience the diffculties of having to develop a local community. It seems the Joint and highest echelons of the US Army leadership anticipate (based upon current doctrine) that our officers have to develop the local communities in their AOR, but have not provided them the know how in either the schools or manuals.

I'm concerned about the long term effect this may have especially in countries that are not developed such as Afghanistan. Imagine a company or battalion commander who has significant amount of CERP funds and all of a sudden is investing these funds in a tiny community, the impact is major in a positive sense but also negative too. Its a double edged sword.

Security will always be the most important line of operation, but economics is always going to be second most important (or at least it should be with the framework of COIN). If the military wholeheartedly adds irregular warfare to the spectrum of operations, it needs to find ways to educate its officers and prepare them for not only the security challenges, but the cultural challenges which includes economics as well. Each society views property differently as they do with capital, wealth and many other economic terms....these are all related to COIN, stablization, reconstruction, etc. We and the force need to be aware of this and understand the dynamics of economics to be successful.

If a community relies on the US to provide financial resources, can the local, provincial or national governments support them if the US leaves? If not, then all that was done was for nothing.

Thanks for the replies and hope to hear some more....

Last edited by MM12; 11-12-2009 at 04:19 AM.
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Old 11-12-2009   #6
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Default Applied Business School Concepts....

SWOT

VRINE

Balanced Scorecard

Peter Drucker

Harvard Business Review

Value Chain Analysis

From USAID: CASHMERE VALUE CHAIN ANALYSIS AFGHANISTAN

Quote:
The USAID-funded Accelerating Sustainable Agriculture Program (ASAP) is committed to create broad-based, market-led agriculture development with the aim to provide economic opportunities for rural Afghans. The cashmere value chain is one of the selected value chains on which ASAP will concentrate. This report provides an overview and analysis of the Cashmere Value Chain, linking the global context to the national context, with the aim of determining Afghanistan’s competitiveness and identifying main leverage points and key strategies to improve Afghanistan’s competitiveness and promote development in a pro-poor manner. It will provide the basis for ASAP’s interventions in the Cashmere Value Chain, and will lay the foundation for ASAP’s cooperation with other agencies active in the sector.
From Roots of Peace: Baseline Survey Report on Villages for Value Chain Business in Afghanistan

Quote:
Agricultural growth and development is deeply intertwined with economic progress. Afghan agriculture possesses the basis and resources for many value chain businesses like cultivation of potatoes, vegetables, oil crops, animal products, carpet weaving and other major crops (i.e. fruits, nuts, other horticultural products, spices, medicinal herbs, forestry, livestock and fisheries) that can be the basis for a large number of agro-based industries and commercial activities. Investment in electricity generation, small and medium scale dams and reservoirs, local roads, agro-training and extension activities, large scale introduction of modern practices in value chains, irrigation, research and development, agricultural and ecological education and training need to be introduced into the country.
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Old 11-12-2009   #7
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Just a few things I'll throw out there...

Economic development should not fall upon the shoulders of a company or battalion that could unexpectedly receive orders to operate in a new AOR at any given time, either by redrawing boundaries or relocating. It should be handled by higher level units that have more direct communication with higher level political operatives and more direct channels to other agencies within our government - which allows them to tap into greater and more diverse funding sources.

CERP is a tool for short-term projects to gain short-term advantages for small units and it is also a damage control instrument. It is not, nor should it be, a tool for economic development. If any unit is under the impression that they are disbursing CERP funds as part of a long-term stimulus program, then they either misunderstood their commander's intent or their commander gave them some bad information.
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Old 11-12-2009   #8
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Default Consider ...

...having a discussion concerning economics and irregular warfare with your local CA-bubba and/or PRT-bubba. It should help to dispel some common misconceptions about what is possible...

CERP

CALL Handbook 09-27

GTA 90-01-017

USAID

Local Governance Program

Provincial Economic Growth Project/Tijara

National Capacity Development/Tatweer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
CERP is a tool for short-term projects to gain short-term advantages for small units and it is also a damage control instrument. It is not, nor should it be, a tool for economic development. If any unit is under the impression that they are disbursing CERP funds as part of a long-term stimulus program, then they either misunderstood their commander's intent or their commander gave them some bad information.
Schmedlap,

Please clarify your point...opinion or fact, and cite your references.

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 11-12-2009   #9
Bill Moore
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Default Some thoughts

1. If you haven't read the Ugly American read it, if you have read it again.

2. Talk to the locals again and again and really seek to understand how their economy functions and what their desires are.

3. Don't preach U.S. free markets, complex economic theories, or promise projects that are more than several months in the making (such a new dam for power production). You'll lose credibiility.

4. Manage expectations, and ensure that any economic quality of life improvements are well known throughout the target audience. You must create the perception of progress.

5. Find an economic development mentor who really understands development in developing nations. They probably don't need laptops and building a school won't put food on the table anytime soon. Identify where you can make real differences, "possible" examples include:

a. Bringing in small business/trade instructors to train the women on a craft that will allow them to make money for the family.

b. Send individuals off to trade school, and help them establish their business when they return (mini loans to stand up their business)

c. Bring in experts (agriculture, other as applicable) to share knowledge on how to improve upon what they're doing already.

6. Use economic development to influence a populace if at all possible. Identify a project of value (the people will tell you what it is, you don't determine it), ensure you can deliver, then tell them what the cost is (no IED attacks upon coalition forces for 2 weeks and we'll start on it (you better deliver), and as long as no IED attacks are the norm we'll continue to work on it.

Best of luck to you.

Last edited by Bill Moore; 11-13-2009 at 06:05 AM.
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Old 11-12-2009   #10
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MM12 View Post
I have heard from them including my personal experience the diffculties of having to develop a local community. It seems the Joint and highest echelons of the US Army leadership anticipate (based upon current doctrine) that our officers have to develop the local communities in their AOR, but have not provided them the know how in either the schools or manuals.
Purely an opinion, but an opinion from one's who's spent a few decades around development projects, and seen a few successes and a lot more failures.

You can't develop someone else's community. Nobody can. You can help the community to develop itself... if you do it very carefully.

There is almost always some sort of economic activity going on in a human environment. As security is established this activity is likely to accelerate. Assisting the economic activity that grows naturally out of an environment is much more effective than trying to introduce some totally new activity that you or some funding agency happens to be enthusiastic about.

Slinging money around often does more harm than good.

One piece of advice I've given to many in the development world, though few listen:

If you see people behaving in a way that makes no sense at all to you, don't assume that they are irrational or stupid. Assume that there is some factor in the picture that you don't see.

My gut reaction to the whole idea is that asking military men to do development work makes about as much sense as asking development workers to fight a war, or asking an engineer to do surgery.
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Old 11-12-2009   #11
M-A Lagrange
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Default some tricks

Quote:
Stabilization, Development and Economics are linear processes in my mind. If the area does not have persistent security and the population's grievances are not addressed, then don't even worry about Development or "Economics."
From vertnyc

Stabilization, development and economic are all but linear. In fact there are very little linearity in passing from a stabilization (non regulated economical environment) to development and even less from development to economic development. The linearity understanding is issued from Rostow theory in which we all start in stone age to end up in ultra capitalist liberal market. But time has shown that it does not work this way.
In developing countries or in recovery economy, the stabilization phase is the initial moment we would like to impose an initial take off. But this is mainly restricted by the comparative advantages the place has to offer (production, work cost, market access…). So in rural economy with low level of technology (not mechanized mainly) the first level for the populations is to accumulate enough to generate savings. What is called going out of the circle of poverty. This first step is realized by several means, one of them being neighbors' resources pillages. This very first step is not to be mistaken with the initial recovery step in which populations are trying to recover what they had previously. Marxist theorist call that the mercantile stage. Liberal will call it precapitalist or pre market stage. The reality is much unclear and both are mixed.
At this stage the artificial introduction of huge quantities of money may have a kick off effect. This is what is described in so many manuals: high intensity man power work as cash for work… It does work with very specific conditions.
First you need a minimum security. This is the F@*#ing rule nb 1. No way to get out of it. If you do not have it then you expose the populations and they turn against you.
Second, effects have to be immediate. Telling someone he will earn good money next harvest just doesn't work. People need to be paid at the end of the week. This will allow them first to increase their household revenues and then generate savings.
Third: include as much as possible everyone and let the elders or local traditional authorities solve out the question of who get employed or not. It will end up like this. So just start with it. You may discover that some insurgents are being employed. Well that is not that bad: you are more careful when it comes to attack the bank that feeds you. But also, make sure that every villages around has the same access to the programs. Nothing is worst than a village benefiting from all efforts and the surrounding ones having nothing. Because them you are not capable to provide rule nb 1.


Quote:
2. Talk to the locals again and again and really seek to understand how their economy functions and what their desires are.
From Bill moore

Yes, talk and talk again. People will not tell you what they want, they will tell you what they think you may give them.
As a basic rule have in mind that people will never express their real needs. They will only express what they know you can provide. If they say a school, they might in fact express the fact they want food for the kids. But as they know you will provide school, they ask for a school so they can have school feeding program. Got my point?
One good way to know what the people want is to talk with women. But it HAS TO BE a woman talking to a woman (even in US). This just because they will not say the same things than the men. You may find out the reality behind the smog.
But cultural habits are the strongest: you cannot give to the women without first giving to the men.

Finally, do not try too much to orientate and teach the people how to set up a business. Most of them had this many times before, in Afgha, in refugees camps, in displaced camps…
Let their imagination work. But small loans are welcomed.

The limit will always be market opening capacity. Traders will come to buy locally and then export if you're competitive. But the bias is they will try to keep the production cost as low as possible. Some may propose to organize producers… Be careful: this is opening the development problem Pandora box. Let the people get organized by them selves.

Finally, do not try to provide a better life to everyone at the same time. Target individuals. Especially in Muslim context, private enterprise is much welcomed and the community has its own mechanisms.

For readings, have some basic as Robert Chambers to understand rural rationalities. Farmers seem crazy but they are all but irrationals.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-12-2009   #12
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Originally Posted by Surferbeetle View Post
Schmedlap,

Please clarify your point...opinion or fact, and cite your references.
I guess you could call it highly preferred TTP? It is what we were instructed in 2007 and it jibes with how we used it in 2005 and 2007. As for citing, we did all of our business on SIPR. I don't know if that means it was classified or if that means that we simply did too much business on SIPR. Either way, I cannot cite.

The gist of the reasoning was that CERP only gets you short term gains. Ad hoc projects do not address the underlying causes of economic decay. They only fill gaps in what the community needs. They are good for obtaining goodwill and temporary cooperation. But after you conduct a project, the people are happy for about a week. Then they start asking, "what have you done for us lately?" Therefore, we were instructed to use them for temporary cooperation or to ameliorate genuine need of a community to solve some serious problem. If we needed longer-term cooperation (for example, enough cooperation over a period of months to purge the area of AQI), then we needed to plan projects that would occur in succession, ideally with a bit of overlap, so that as goodwill from the first project leveled off, we would begin another project to sustain that goodwill, and so on.
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Old 11-12-2009   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
So was your post out of frustration with the green tabs in the BCT??? Kind of a you sent me for 6 mths to UW then ignore everything I have to say???

If so, have you addressed them with the BCT CDR? Do you have a seat at the table with the planners are you interacting with the plans shop of your higher hqs???
My post isn't really out of frustration- I will always appreciate the opportunity for training or education regardless if I get to use it or not- I just happen to be using that particular skill set in an indirect way...

Most of the planning sessions believe it or not occur outside of the Brigade, at least in terms of economic development. Which is a good thing in my mind, because it's wrong to put that burden on the military. But I'm invited to those and those usually go just fine.

I've heard of theories of putting stability / non-lethal activities as a S3 function. In actuality, not much integration with the S3 shop.
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Old 11-12-2009   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M-A Lagrange View Post
From vertnyc

Stabilization, development and economic are all but linear. In fact there are very little linearity in passing from a stabilization (non regulated economical environment) to development and even less from development to economic development. The linearity understanding is issued from Rostow theory in which we all start in stone age to end up in ultra capitalist liberal market. But time has shown that it does not work this way.
In developing countries or in recovery economy, the stabilization phase is the initial moment we would like to impose an initial take off. But this is mainly restricted by the comparative advantages the place has to offer (production, work cost, market access…). So in rural economy with low level of technology (not mechanized mainly) the first level for the populations is to accumulate enough to generate savings. What is called going out of the circle of poverty. This first step is realized by several means, one of them being neighbors' resources pillages. This very first step is not to be mistaken with the initial recovery step in which populations are trying to recover what they had previously. Marxist theorist call that the mercantile stage. Liberal will call it precapitalist or pre market stage. The reality is much unclear and both are mixed.
At this stage the artificial introduction of huge quantities of money may have a kick off effect. This is what is described in so many manuals: high intensity man power work as cash for work… It does work with very specific conditions.
First you need a minimum security. This is the F@*#ing rule nb 1. No way to get out of it. If you do not have it then you expose the populations and they turn against you.
Second, effects have to be immediate. Telling someone he will earn good money next harvest just doesn't work. People need to be paid at the end of the week. This will allow them first to increase their household revenues and then generate savings.
Third: include as much as possible everyone and let the elders or local traditional authorities solve out the question of who get employed or not. It will end up like this. So just start with it. You may discover that some insurgents are being employed. Well that is not that bad: you are more careful when it comes to attack the bank that feeds you. But also, make sure that every villages around has the same access to the programs. Nothing is worst than a village benefiting from all efforts and the surrounding ones having nothing. Because them you are not capable to provide rule nb 1.
Concur with persistent security first...without that we cannot have either stability, development, or economics. Also concur with #2 and #3- we are doing those.

But I do have some issues with the stability, development, and economics explanation. Why do you think Afghan villagers want to accumulate savings? Also, what are your definitions of stability, development, and economics?

I didn't notice the definitions there aside from promoting labor-intensive cash for work programs, which I support.
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Old 11-12-2009   #15
Bill Moore
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Default Seeking knowledge

Quote:
Yes, talk and talk again. People will not tell you what they want, they will tell you what they think you may give them.
As a basic rule have in mind that people will never express their real needs. They will only express what they know you can provide. If they say a school, they might in fact express the fact they want food for the kids. But as they know you will provide school, they ask for a school so they can have school feeding program. Got my point?
When I first read this I thought you were getting close to the white man's burden philosophy (too arrogant to listen to the locals, so you'll tell them what they need), but on the second read I see you make a very good point, especially since we have been there several years and the locals know how we operate. Here comes the coalition, they're going to build schools, roads, and dig wells so we just ask for schools, roads and wells because that is what we're going to get. We'll turn to someone else to provide what we really need now (employment, healthcare, law and order, or whatever the locals think they actually need today).

Quote:
I just happen to be using that particular skill set in an indirect way...

Most of the planning sessions believe it or not occur outside of the Brigade, at least in terms of economic development. Which is a good thing in my mind, because it's wrong to put that burden on the military. But I'm invited to those and those usually go just fine.
Seems to me you're on track with the "indirect use" of your education. Your BDE is in a tough fight, so I can see why your S3 isn't embracing development at this time as a core function in the Ops shop. They have to focus on the fight and providing security first (I don't want to get into what comes first argument development or security, but I'm firmly in the security camp). If there is some room, or spare capacity to do development while fighting, then some development work might be useful, especially if it provides employment while you're creating a secure environment. I think the key role that you and your BDE can provide is critical input (ground truth) to those planning and doing economic development, and in some cases you may even be able to provide some priorities that nest with your security efforts.

For all of us on the SWJ who are not standing in your shoes on point in a very tough fight, we wish you well. We'll provide our thoughts and whatever advise we have, but you have more awareness of the ground truth than any of us, so trust your intuition.

Last edited by Bill Moore; 11-13-2009 at 06:11 AM. Reason: Thanks David, I cleaned it up some more...
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Old 11-13-2009   #16
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Default Unity of effort...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
The gist of the reasoning was that CERP only gets you short term gains. Ad hoc projects do not address the underlying causes of economic decay. They only fill gaps in what the community needs. They are good for obtaining goodwill and temporary cooperation. But after you conduct a project, the people are happy for about a week. Then they start asking, "what have you done for us lately?" Therefore, we were instructed to use them for temporary cooperation or to ameliorate genuine need of a community to solve some serious problem. If we needed longer-term cooperation (for example, enough cooperation over a period of months to purge the area of AQI), then we needed to plan projects that would occur in succession, ideally with a bit of overlap, so that as goodwill from the first project leveled off, we would begin another project to sustain that goodwill, and so on.
Many of my experiences with the Commanders Emergency Response Program (CERP),as well as development programs in general, were and are different than your description. None the less the proof of any program/system, to include CERP, is always in the results. Do the operators and recipients of the associated projects maintain and use them? Were the associated projects completed on time and under budget? Over the long run we taxpayers will have plenty of time to judge if our development programs were synchronized and effective systems which capitalized upon the power of unity of effort or if they were isolated one-year tour efforts repeated X times and of marginal utility.

5-year planning cycles are common in many parts of the world. In engineering-land this is typically due to synchronizing scarce resources with the time and resource intensive requirements associated with developing statement of works, cost estimates, project schedules, quality assurance/quality control plans, full blown engineering designs, construction and construction management systems. There are many similarities between engineering planning efforts and the Military Decision Making Process.

During my tour in 03-04 we initially shot for identifying all ongoing and planned projects conducted by Iraqi’s, NGO’s, IO’s, USG elements, and Contractors in our AO. From there we worked to prioritize projects among the stakeholders and used CERP to fund gaps with Iraqi's taking the lead in executing many of the projects. We also worked to translate all of that info into mil-knowledge via the concepts of mission analysis (receipt of mission, facts, assumptions, specified tasks, implied tasks, essential tasks, gaps, COA development) and unity of effort. This is not to say that our efforts in our AO resulted in the creation of a lasting oasis of peace or an enduring 'Little America' nor that they were a bloodless effort devoid of any setbacks or WTF moments.

The CERP and USAID links I provided in my post emphasize the importance of synchronized development systems which strive for unity of effort. Only time will tell, however, if the costs and benefits of our coalition development efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan will have surpassed, equaled, or fell well short of the costs and benefits of the ~13 billion USD Marshall Plan (1952 US GDP ~358 billion?).
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Old 11-13-2009   #17
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Default thanks david

thanks for the editing catch, I cleaned it up a little more. That's what I get for rushing and not wearing my glasses.
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Old 11-13-2009   #18
M-A Lagrange
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Default A beginning of answer

Hello Vertnyc

I will try to come with complete answers to your questions. I will first answer to the simpliest one:

Quote:
Why do you think Afghan villagers want to accumulate savings?
Why do poor people need to accumulate savings?

The question seems a little out of the loop in first place. This basically comes from the circle of poverty theory.

Poor households do not generate enough incomes to cover all their expenses. So they have to make choices between members of the household to allocate their resources. Example: the household does not have enough money to buy clothes for all and send all to school. They will choose to buy closes for the oldest girl so she can get married and send one boy to school. All their choices are driven by a rational allocation of their incomes.

To be able to get out of this circle, households need to be able to generate more incomes to increase the range of choices. To increase their choices they need to be economically secure at household level. To reach this stage, vulnerable households need to accumulate goods or money so they will be able to diversify their production capacity. That diversification can be done through small business, acquisition of land, diversification of production, education… But all this need the household to generate savings they can use to purchase non basic/survival goods.

Also, accumulating symbolic richness as cattle or land or weapons is a way to show both your economical wealth and your social power. For young men especially, their capacity to show symbols as weapons, cattle, land is important as it prove to the communities that they are capable to have a family, to be respected as a man… So they will be socially accepted. You find this problematic in almost all post war context. I found it in places as different as Liberia or Somalia.
Finally, in Islam, being rich, accumulating symbols of richness, is being blessed in the eyes of Allah (Quite like in Calvinist approach of capitalism). So generating savings is something that most of the people will look at.
In traditional societies, the main point to understand is that group rationality lies at household level, not at group level. Vulnerable families will, as example, share with extremely vulnerable families but this is not a charity act. This is an expression of power and social domination.

About this, I would recommend to read Bourdieu : la distinction, critic social du jugement, 1979, edition de minuit. I know it has been traduced in English but do not have the reference. May be a little difficult to read and the link with Afghan society not clear at first look. But this helps to figure how the social habits are preserved and continue to drive individual relationships. What you have to keep in mind is that vulnerable households are self centered. Relations with others are symbolic power struggle. The group, let’s take the village level for the moment, will only prime on a very limited range of issues. And it will be driven by a limited number of influential families.
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Old 11-13-2009   #19
M-A Lagrange
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Default Concerning the linearity of stabilization, development, economic.

I will try to come with a definition of those “ stages”. I will not come with manual definition but describe them in a “development” approach.

Stabilization: reinstallation of law and order by a military power coupled with humanitarian activities (post conflict type) to address basic survival population needs. The economy is disrupted and there is a low level of market organization. Political context is unstable and influx on economical capacities and choices of the population. Economical efforts are looking to recover pre conflict economical level.

Development: This may include economical recovery (But I would rather include that into stabilization stage). Basically it takes place in a stable security environment with or without political stability. Actions are targeting economical capacities of household to get organized and increase their incomes. This is looking to create the conditions for economical take off for communities. Rule of law is in place and markets are regulated.

Economy: this targets the market organization regulation. It would be the creation of a normative economical context allowing large investments and production distribution. This would be the stage during which juniors and then majors will invest and basically build production plants… Security and political contexts are stable and allow long term activities.

Those are raw definitions and you may disagree. Personally, I would go with a much detail canevas: life saving; recovery; post conflictre development; primary sector development and pre economical development; economical development.

To my understanding, Afghanistan (Depending the areas) is between recovery (with life saving activities) and post conflict activities. With some pockets of pre economical development in major cities.
What you may (and most probably experience) is the creation of pockets of take off rather than a homogeneous take off from all the villages or families in your area. (The basic principle of the drop oil theory).

Then comes the problematic of cotinuum and contiguum in “development activities”.

Continuum is what we all want. From humanitarian life saving stage, we introduce enough money to generate small savings at household level. The population and goods have free movements capacity. This creates small shops and a dynamic market exchange place. This generates enough immediate benefits for all the population so the populations rally the coalition. Then you have long term stability and foreign investors are coming…

Contiguum is what we experience: For a reason we do not know, all is fine in village A but nothing is going well in village B. While village A is becoming a centre and tracts and attracts all economical investments and attention, village B is still in basic survival stage and becomes a periphery. So you have a pocket of linear development and pockets of no progresses.
There village A is an economical centre and village B is an economical periphery. In a wonderful world, villagers from B, watching what is happening in A will double efforts to reach A level and the centre will tract the area to pass from stabilization to development.
In reality, what we experience most of the time is B becomes jealous. Villagers from B will put their efforts in restricting village A economical efforts. This may includes the use of violence. So village B becomes a violence centre and A a violence periphery. So you will have to put your efforts in maintaining A security level to secure its economical progress. And you will have to restrict B violence activities but double your economical efforts to make them progress. Watching that, A may be unhappy (At least…).

I would recommend reading Francois Gruenwald, but I do not know if he has been translated in English. His organization (group URD) is present in Afghanistan if I am not mistaking.

Concerning labor intensive cash for work:

It is a starting point but not the response to everything. You have to be able to stop it at one stage. Once population is creating small business then you have to stop and shift to other activities that will support households’ capacities to generate regular and sustainable incomes.
Cash for work is your first step to enter the community. It is just a tool. Second step may be production transport or transformation…

I support cash for work, used it a lot to stabilize small unsecured areas in many contexts. I also would warn about the side effects of it. The main one being seen only as a cash for work provider and then being unable to do other activities. The day you stop cash for work, the population may decide to no more support you as you are no more providing easy money.

Hope this respond to your questions. Do not hesitate if you feel some dark areas in my explanations.
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Old 11-13-2009   #20
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Originally Posted by vertnyc View Post
I'm the Brigade Economic Development Officer for Task Force Stryker in Southern Afghanistan and I've done Zero Economic Development. I was sent to the University of Washington by the Brigade Commander for 6 months to learn about how to start small businesses in preparation for deployment to Iraq.

Anyways- fiscal discipline on the part of the military isn't good enough as other instruments of national power have programs which have budgets that I get the feeling "have to be expended" by a certain time. Which is bad. And it's really bad if you concentrate in only two Provinces and spend $240+ Million in the next 10 months.
Congratulations on your assignment... I was up the road near Herat in 08-09 doing HA/CA. You have the luxury (?) of US maneuver forces in your AO to check the CERP project sites. You are near or in Kandahar with ready access to cash.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/13/wo...m.html?_r=1&hp
Afghan Enclave Seen as Model to Rebuild, and Rebuff Taliban

A nice, easy way to ultimate victory Have you considered the National Solidarity Plan (NSP), Provincial Development Plan (PDP), the District councils, and the Community Development Councils? I worked with the US Envoy to Herat province and the USAID folks.

For my druthers, I'd rather hand off CERP for big projects to USAID (they have local staff) and return to the Emergency Response part of CERP.
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