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In die Skriflig

On-line version ISSN 2305-0853
Print version ISSN 1018-6441

In Skriflig (Online) vol.42 n.3 Pretoria Jan. 2008




Economic sanctions: An ethical primer


Ekonomiese sanksies: 'n Etiese inleiding



H.J.G. Zandman

Covenant College, ACT. Autralia. E-mail:




The world has developed into a globe with increasingly intertwined economic interests, with greater economic interdependence than ever before. This has caused a new weapon to step onto the world scene in the 20th and 21st centuries, applied to bring nations to heel. It is aimed at those nations which do not conform to particular, usually ethically perceived standards. "Economic sanctions" is the name of this new weapon.
This article aims to evaluate the wielding of economic sanctions from the perspective of principles based on a Biblical worldview in order to assist Christians in making an informed decision as to what their stance ought to be regarding this phenomenon.
Data show that there is an incremental increase of the use of economic sanctions in world politics. At present, sanctions have uncertain grounding in ethics and little or no standing in international law. Their effectiveness is seriously questioned, their economic cost, especially to the implementer(!), is considerable. The question as to whether economic sanctions should be deplored or embraced at times would be helped with further investigation beyond the scope of this article, notably with regard to what has been surmised in the context of the sanctions deployed regarding the apartheid regime in South Africa.
The results of economic sanctions appear to bear out the Biblical principles in that both, actual results plus Biblical principles, generally send a discouraging message regarding this approach to political conflict.


Die wêreld het ontwikkel in die rigting van toenemende ver-vlegde ekonomiese belange, met groter ekonomiese interafhanklikheid as ooit tevore. Dit veroorsaak dat 'n nuwe wapen gedurende die 20e en 21e eeue op die toneel gekom het om nasies die knie te laat buig. Dit is gerig op daardie nasies wat nie voldoen aan baie spesifieke, gewoonlik etiese, standaarde nie. "Ekonomiese sanksies" is die naam van hierdie nuwe wapen. Hierdie artikel het ten doel om die werking van ekonomiese sanksies te beoordeel vanuit die perspektief van beginsels wat uit 'n Bybelse wêreldsiening spruit. Christene sal gevolglik 'n ingeligde besluit kan maak oor waar hulle behoort te staan betreffende hierdie fenomeen.
Data wys dat daar 'n groot toename is in die gebruik van ekonomiese sanksies in wêreldpolitiek. Tans het sulke sanksies 'n onsekere begronding in etiek en min of geen aansien in internasionale reg nie. Hulle effektiwiteit kan ernstig bevraagteken word, en die ekonomiese koste, veral vir die toepasser, is aansienlik. Die vraag of ekonomiese sanksies verafsku of in sekere omstandighede omhels moet word, sal beter beantwoord word deur verdere navorsing buite die trefwydte van hierdie artikel - veral met betrekking tot gebeure in die konteks van die sanksies teenoordie apartheidsbestel in Suid-Afrika wat toegepas is.
Die resultate van ekonomiese sanksies blyk dieselfde te probeer doen as Bybelse beginsels in die sin dat albei 'n afkeurende boodskap aangaande 'n benadering van politiese konflik stuur.



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