Mnookin and Verbeke describe the nonviolent but very serious conflict in Belgium between the Flemish (Dutch) of the North and the Walloons (French) of the South. The Flemish economy is more prosperous than the Walloon economy, and the Flemish constitute a majority of the Belgian population. Nevertheless, the Walloons enjoy a financial subsidy from the Flemish and share equally in the political power of the nation due to antimajoritarian restrictions built into the government structure. Even though significant and persistent, this conflict remains nonviolent due to several factors, including largely separate geography, language and social structure; a low-stakes conflict; relatively small wealth disparities; a federal system largely enabling separate political systems; and a pragmatic tradition. Mnookin and Verbeke argue that the disputants can continue to coexist with a civilized separation short of divorce. They further point out that the very factors that help keep this conflict nonviolent also serve to provide little incentive to work toward a more cooperative relationship.
Robert Mnookin & Alain Verbeke,
Persistent Nonviolent Conflict With No Reconciliation: The Flemish and Walloons in Belgium,
72 Law and Contemporary Problems
Available at: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/lcp/vol72/iss2/14