Update #2

As the project progressed, my central thesis coalesced into the concept of a concessions dilemma. My paper will introduce the concept of a concessions dilemma through an analysis of Liberian concessions-based development and demonstrate how effective government oversight and responsible corporate governance, paradoxically, has the potential to fundamentally undermine the integrity and legitimacy of a weak state.  A concessions dilemma is a structural paradox that emerges when the legitimacy of the government is challenged by a corporate concession that outperforms the government in its ability to provide public goods and services to its employees. This dilemma is exacerbated by shocks to the system that overwhelm the services of a weak state while the more effective concession management bureaucracy is able to cope with the crisis. However, not all states or all concessions are vulnerable to this dilemma. The state must be sufficiently weak in its institutions, capacity, and reach to outweigh its significant advantage in presumed legitimacy as a state.  The concessionaire has three main risk factors that determine whether it is at risk of falling into a concessions dilemma. The larger the concession in terms of employees, land mass, and economic might the more significant the risk. Additionally the risk is increased when life on the concession is clearly distinct from the rest of the nation in public goods, higher wages, physical separations, and different legal or ethical systems. Finally, this paper argues that the longer the duration of the concession the greater the chance of these first two factors resulting in a concession identity separate and distinct from the Liberian national identity. Historically, this dilemma has not been a significant occurrence due to the poor standard of life on concessions throughout Africa and Asia. However, nations following Liberia’s concessions development corridor model will hopefully produce concessions with good governance and yet, at the same time, trigger the concessions dilemma. The management of these concessions must be structured to minimize the risk of the dilemma while at the same time maximizing economic productivity.