Costing

 

Mari Fitzduff

Professor and Director of the MA Conflict and Coexistence Programme at Brandeis University

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003


This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

A: Make peace worthwhile. So how do we deal with the business folk? We got an economist in to actually look at a few pilot agencies, to look at what is was costing them to have separate work forces going around doing the electricity power lines, the cost of paying compensation to people who were harassed or murdered or whatever. Getting people to come to the cost in terms of businesses, and going to them and saying are you willing to do something, because we've estimated this is what your cost is, and therefore making it worth their while.

Also making it easy for them, because a little of businesses would say we're willing, but what do we do? You really would have to go in and say, look, this is what we suggest you do in terms of, you know, it could be the way your workers come in to work. It could be the kind of safety you can offer. It could be the people you have in the office or in the factory place who will be available if there are problems. You've got to have a policy on emblems and flags because they've cost two or three lives every year since you've been here. You've got to show them that actually it is in their interest. This is a real art, because for many people, particularly the middle class people who are outside of the particular zones of conflict, you had to be able to sit down with them and persuade them that we needed them too.

So, for instance, you could get people who were very senior civil servants who didn't quite realize that because they worked in health, this had anything to do with them. Until you show them that actually again you had to have double work forces, you have the cost of the casualties, and you have whatever. Make sure that the cost is recognized by everyone and making sure they take up their part and their responsibility in terms of addressing it.

Q: So in addition to the human costs and the social costs

A: The actual financial costs. It's an awful thing to say, but often that's what counts. Economic development, per se, will not work because it can often be as divisive. That was the other thing we also learned. The maxim we came to was nothing should happen apart that can be done together, including things like economic development and open businesses. It was so bad in Northern Ireland, I remember one time, there's a particular pan of bread that I adore, and I couldn't find it in certain areas and I kept going into these shops and saying, where's Pat's, Pat the Baker's bread? I went into another area, which happened to be a Protestant one, and the sales woman whispered in my ear, "We call it Linwood's bread here". The cost of actually having to produce different bread for different parts of the country because they wouldn't be accepted if they were seen to be Catholic bread or Protestant bread is one such example of financial costs. Bring home to them that in fact there's an enormous amount to be gained if you could actually gain acceptance in terms of an increased connected workforce, greater workforce and etc.

Being very clever about getting everybody on board and often finding different tactics as to how to get different people on board.