If you only read one thing this week…

Attempting to better define fragile states by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
May 20, 2008, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Articles, Development theory, If you have 30 mins, Megatrend, Uncategorized

The Brookings Institute has just published a report that presents an Index of State Weakness in the Developing World, measuring weakness in 141 developing countries (as defined by the World Bank) against four categories: economic, political, security and social welfare. Each category has four indicators and each country received a score for each indicator and a subsequent average. The complete, beautifully color-coded table can be downloaded and printed here. Somalia scores lowest across all four categories and ranks at the bottom of the charts. The 24-page report shows some interesting correlations and between the different data sets.  For example, not surprisingly, there is a strong correlation between poverty and overall weakness which means that most of the world’s weakest (and failed) states are also the world’s poorest. Also, states that are more successful at political governance also tend to provide better social welfare. The report is easily accessible and at only 24 pages is an interesting read. Download the full report here.


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Constructive Sovereignty An emerging theory intended to address globalization’s increasing onslaught against state sovereignty. The theory maintains that states are not the primary actors, their constituents are. Therefore, their preferences are not fixed. Since states merely represent the preferences of their constituents, they will only adhere to and ultimately embed those international norms their constituency will accept. Rather than push for larger and more powerful international organizations that will impose global norms from the outside in, the theory of Constructive Sovereignty posits that ultimately change must come from the inside out. That is to say, from each state’s own constituency. As each state’s constituents become more and more international, they will become more receptive to international norms and they will voice their acceptance of these norms both politically and (especially) as consumers. It is therefore a central pillar of the theory that privatization is not only the driving force behind globalization, but also that private enterprise possesses the incentive to implement those international norms reflected in the preferences of consumers (profit). As private enterprise meets the increasingly international demands of consumers, it will itself become more international in scope. The cycle is self-perpetuating. In this way international norms are embedded and viewed with legitimacy by each state’s constituency, while state sovereignty is maintained and respected.

For the seminal paper go to http://constructivesovereignty.blogspot.com/

Comment by John Maszka

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