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Marketing an End to War

The premise of marketing an end to war may seem absurd, but what if we were to revisit the very purpose of markets and marketing. Could governments, companies, markets, marketing and consumer-citizens be managed or motivated in ways to eliminate and to prevent wars, and to sustain peace and prosperity? Considerable evidence suggests the answer to that question is Yes.  Unfortunately, against our best interests, we often engage in decision-making, policies and practices that create and exacerbate conflict rather than cooperation. We tragically fall prey to social traps, with short-term gain at horrific long-term costs; we choose to ignore, acquiesce or disengage; we fail to think and act systemically and sustainably; we do not appreciate the importance of community-building, what facilitates it, and holistic measures of life-quality. All of which can portend or incite violence and war.

While working on a project this week in Phnom Penh, I was visibly and viscerally reminded yet again of the many costs of war and the relentless challenges to peace and prosperity. The good people of Cambodia have experienced the unimaginable horror of violent conflict that culminated in genocide; a level of devastation they still struggle to overcome, forty years after “The Killing Fields”.  However, policy change and integration into the global economy, and the transformative effects of markets — and responsible marketing, goods and services — are proving to be indispensable to peace and prosperity, here, and throughout emerging Southeast Asia and beyond.

The path to sustainable peace, wealth and wellbeing in Cambodia and other war-ravaged economies is difficult and can be dangerous, but compared to where the country was 20 years ago, the progress is astonishing and gives cause for cautious optimism. Still, ongoing vigilance, constructive engagement and systemic cooperation remain essential for further progress.

Anyone interested in a more detailed and thoughtful essay on this topic is encouraged to read a recently published article, which is accessible by simply clicking on this link: Marketing an End to War: Constructive Engagement, Community Wellbeing, and Sustainable Peace.

Readers also may be interested in a one-minute video, which is a brief introduction to a longitudinal field-study of the Choeung Ek memorial located on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, and Cambodia’s evolving recovery from genocide: https://vimeo.com/200277643. That video will be expanded and made available here and at other sites, after editing.

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