Economic and Power Frustrations as Predictors of Industrial and Political Conflict Strategies

Journal article

Talikka, Annikki (1970) Economic and Power Frustrations as Predictors of Industrial and Political Conflict Strategies, Journal of Peace Research 7 (4): 267–288.

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The article is a precis of a thesis originally published in Finnish. The study aimed at elu cidating the connection between short term situations of economic and power frustration, and conflict strategies of different parties (Right, Center, and Left) in internal political conflict in countries with multiparty system and capitalistic economy.

The object of inquiry was primarily Finland 1919-1933. Material was gathered from sta tistics and comparable documents. Situations of economic frustration were measured by i. a. decrease of profits in agriculture, by bankruptcies in industry and commerce, and by price indexes for various products. Situations of power frustration were measured by the distribution of political power among parties in Parliament and communal councils during different election periods. Conflict strategies of the Left were measured by workers' membership in trade unions, and by union activity. Right and Center conflict strategies were measured by degree of organization of the employers and by activity of their organi zations, by propaganda competition and its prevention, by support given the armed bour geois militia, and by application of laws designed to criminalize the Left.

The analysis had two phases. Preliminary classification of variables was made by factor analysis, and the subsequent main analysis by canonical correlations, taking the frustration situations and the conflict strategies of the Left as prognostic factors and conflict strategies of the Right and Center as those to be predicted.

Our main hypothesis - that economic frustration leads to intensified conflict strategies against the opposing party - was completely supported. Generally we can say that in favour able economic conditions the conflicting parties choose a cooperative strategy advantageous to themselves; in situations of slight economic frustration they tend to choose a strategy of competition manifested in the use of money or other forms; while in situations of serious economic frustration they choose a strategy of suppression aimed at partial or total elimi nation of the opposition power. The hypothesis that situations of power frustration have a sharpening influence on conflict strategies, on the other hand, seemed valid only as far as the Center was concerned: according to our findings the Center is inclined to sharpen its strategies when its power diminishes, but the Right as its power increases. The explanation may lie in the powerful basic frustration of the Right consequent upon the realization of political democracy. Minor victories in elections were not able to eliminate the basic frus tration and therefore the Right, while in the ascendancy, strove in one way or another to undermine the power of its opponent, the Left, at least of the influence it had lost when political democracy was realized.

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