Peace Through Entrepreneurship: Investing in a Startup Culture for Security and Development

Brookings Institution Press
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Joblessness is the root cause of the global unrest threatening American security. Fostering entrepreneurship is the remedy.

The combined weight of American diplomacy and military power cannot end unrest and extremism in the Middle East and other troubled regions of the world, Steven Koltai argues. Koltai says an alternative approach would work: investing in entrepreneurship and reaping the benefits of the jobs created through entrepreneurial startups.

From 9/11 and the Arab Spring to the self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate, instability and terror breed where young people cannot find jobs. Koltai marshals evidence to show that joblessness—not religious or cultural conflict—is the root cause of the unrest that vexes American foreign policy and threatens international security.

Drawing on Koltai’s stint as senior adviser for Entrepreneurship in Secretary Hillary Clinton’s State Department, and his thirty-year career as a successful entrepreneur and business executive, Peace through Entrepreneurship argues for the significant elevation of entrepreneurship in the service of foreign policy; not rural microfinance or mercantile trading but the scalable stuff of Silicon Valley and Sam Walton, generating the vast majority of new jobs in economies large and small.

Peace through Entrepreneurship offers a nonmilitary, long-term solution at a time of disillusionment with Washington’s “big development” approach to unstable and underdeveloped parts of the world—and when the new normal is fear of terrorist attacks against Western targets, beheadings in Syria, and jihad. Extremism will not be resolved by a war on terror. The answer, Koltai shows, is stimulating entrepreneurial economic opportunities for the virtually limitless supply of desperate, unemployed young men and women leading lives of endless economic frustration.
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About the author

Steven R. Koltai is a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution and managing director of the entrepreneurship consultancy Koltai and Co. LLC. He is a successful entrepreneur in the telecommunications and event management industries, and from 2009–11 served as Senior Advisor for Entrepreneurship under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Matthew Muspratt is a writer and consultant with expertise in Sub Saharan Africa. He consults on entrepreneurship with Koltai & Co. and has worked in several African countries as a legal adviser to banks, social enterprises, and an access-to-justice organization.
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Additional Information

Brookings Institution Press
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Published on
Aug 30, 2016
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Business & Economics / Development / Sustainable Development
Business & Economics / Entrepreneurship
Political Science / Geopolitics
Political Science / Security (National & International)
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