The Market for Force

The Consequences of Privatizing Security

by Deborah D. Avant

The legitimate use of force is generally presumed to be the realm of the state. However, the flourishing role of the private sector in security over the last twenty years has brought this into question. In this book Deborah Avant examines the privatization of security and its impact on the control of force. She describes the growth of private security companies, explains how the industry works, and describes its range of customers – including states, non-government organisations and commercial transnational corporations. She charts the inevitable trade-offs that the market for force imposes on the states, firms and people wishing to control it, suggests a new way to think about the control of force, and offers a model of institutional analysis that draws on both economic and sociological reasoning. The book contains case studies drawn from the US and Europe as well as Africa and the Middle East.

  • Cambridge University Press; July 2005
  • ISBN: 9780511126710
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: The Market for Force
  • Author: Deborah D. Avant
  • Imprint: Cambridge University Press

In The Press

'Deborah Avant has written a sensible corrective to the hype and hyperbole that has accompanied the study of 'mercenaries'. She shows how private military companies are a part of the everyday workings of national military establishments, and provides prescient warnings about the impact of excessive outsourcing in this area. Avant provides an alarming message that over-reliance on private forces undermines the spirit and commitment that make effective national militaries work. In doing so, Avant shows how a public ethic is an integral part of what makes national militaries successful and how this is missing in private military companies.' William S. Reno, Northwestern University