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State Failure

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Samiullah Halepota

on 26 April 2014

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Transcript of State Failure

State failure States Notions of state success and failure What state failure is
Theoretical Concepts of state failure
Notions of state success Notions of state . What is a state?
. Features of a state
. Statelessness Ways in which a state can fail Ways of state failure
Critiques of the concept of state failure To cover Notions of state
Theoretical perspectives of the state
Notions of state success and failure
Ways in which states can fail
Critiques of state failure
Discussion Conclusion: References Service delivery view: state fails to provide law and order, property rights, public goods and welfare.
These are related to and come about due to a complex array of governance problems such as corruption, rent seeking, market distortions and absence of democracy.
Absence of democracy means no check on rent seeking and this is a cycle which reinforces it self
Lack of competition in the absence of capitalism so again rent seeking, corruption and clientelism flourishes. Notions of state failure Social transformation view: Incompatibility and lack of institutional systems.
The transition from a traditional to a capitalist economy needs an institutional change to ensure property rights, rent seeking management and generally the working of the capitalist system. These institutions are absent or, if present, incompatible with the traditional norms, value systems and institutions.
As Brett (2008) argues, in clientelism the obligations to family are valued more then institutional and bureaucratic obligations. (Chomsky 2006) views a failed state as one which cannot perform certain security, governance and development functions; has limited or no effective control over its territory and one which fails to adhere to domestic and international law. THEORETICAL CONCEPTS OF FAILED STATES Realism: Failed states are those where the government does not possess the monopoly over the means of violence, or are considered a threat to western security, such as the ‘rogue’ states of the ‘axis of evil’ (Ayers 2012) Liberalism: States fail because they do not possess certain political, economic, social or cultural capabilities and institutions to function as a state. Constructivism: State failure is a socially constructed reality and so is dependent upon factors such as culture, identity and interests. Culture, as Alexander Wendt (1992) argues, must supervene on nature. Critical theory: Chesterman et al. (2005: 1) make the important point that while central government may be ineffective or absent in weak states, politics carries on in these ‘politically empty spaces’ as non-state actors exercise political power. NOTIONS OF STATE SUCCESS a successful state is one that provides services to its citizens such as property rights, public goods, market regulation and welfare. It does this due to the presence of democracy, an independent judiciary and good bureaucracy as these all lead to a control on rent seeking and corruption. In addition to this it has to be an industrial capitalist state with political and economic capacity to transform its institutional capacity from a traditional to a capitalist one. It has to maintain secure boundaries, ensure the protection and security of all of the population, maintain law and order throughout a territory and conform to international and domestic laws. Lastly it has to maintain a monopoly over legitimate physical force in a territory. As according to Weber a state is ‘a human community that successfully claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory’ (Weber 1948: 78). Acemoglu, D. A., 2012, 'THE 2012 INDEX', Foreign Policy, 194, pp. 85-91, UK & Ireland Reference Centre
Ayers, A. J., 2012, "An illusion of the epoch: Critiquing the ideology of 'failed states''', International Politics, 49 (5) pp. 568-590
Bøås, M., & Jennings, K., 2007, '''Failed States' and 'State Failure': Threats or Opportunities?", Globalizations, 4 (4) pp. 475-485
Brett, E. A., 2008, "State failure and success in Uganda and Zimbabwe: The logic of political decay and reconstruction in Africa", The Journal of Development Studies, 44 (3), 339-364.
Call, C. T., 2008, 'The Fallacy of the 'Failed State''', Third World Quarterly, 29 (8) pp. 1491-1507
Eriksen, S., 2010, "'State failure’ in theory and practice: the idea of the state and the contradictions of state formation", Review Of International Studies, 37 (1) pp. 229-247
Halvorson, D., 2010, ''Bringing international politics back", in "Reconceptualising state failure for the twenty-first century", Australian Journal Of International Affairs, 64 (5), pp. 583-600
McAuley, J. W., 2003, "An Introduction to Politics, State and Society", Sage Publications: London, pp. 19-62
Willets, P., 2011, "Transnational Actors and International Organisations in Global Politics" in Baylis, J., Smith, S., and Owens, P. (eds.) "The Globalization of World Politics", New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 328-9 Two ways to think about states
1.A government tool used to control a geographical area
2.As the social system that imposes a set of rules/authority

Three main features
1.A group of institutions
2.Controls a geographically bounded area
3.Controls rule-making

1. Recognition by others for legitimacy
2. To what extent does the government make the rules? Is state power interventionist or regulatory? Consider effects of privatisation and market liberalisation What is a state? Roles of the State Tools of legitimacy and control
1.Written language
2.Centralised management of the economy

The state should
1.Protect citizens
2.Extract resources
3.Promote welfare
4.Be legitimate/recognised
5.Create political obligation (citizenship/nationalism)

* Citizenship –People living within state boundaries are citizens with rights/duties
* Nationalism – Patriotic sentiment/support for state

Determines socially acceptable behaviour & what is political:
e.g. what is legal and illegal. Statelessness E.g. The Nuer – Southern Sudan & the Jale of New Guinea highlands.

Hunter-gatherer, no need to co-ordinate large groups or stored resources, sometimes lack of settled territory.

Mechanisms of political regulation: family & kinship, customs & traditions, religious authority.

Critical theory - central government may be ineffective/absent, but politics exists in statelessness.
Non-state actors exercise degrees of power.

Which is more legitimate? Stateless State
. Informal government arrangement . Political institutions are separate
. No clear boundaries . Specific population or territory
. Decisions settled by non-state structure . Legal system & force
. Relationships defined by custom . Institutional divisions formally arranged McAuley, J. W., 2003, "An Introduction to Politics, State and Society", Sage Publications: London, pp. 19-62 McAuley, J. W., 2003, "An Introduction to Politics, State and Society", Sage Publications: London, pp. 19-62 McAuley, J. W., 2003, "An Introduction to Politics, State and Society", Sage Publications: London, pp. 19-62
Willets, P., 2011, "Transnational Actors and International Organisations in Global Politics" in Baylis, J., Smith, S., and Owens, P. (eds.) "The Globalization of World Politics", New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 328-9
The widely held view in the policy arena of state failure is the neo liberal view. However this as shown earlier is not the only one, as different theoretical perspectives view state failure diffrently.
The concept is based on flawed assumptions about state uniformity, which enables crucial differences in state formation and recession to be smoothed over and obscured, while elevating analytically superficial similarities that both inform and perpetuate misguided policy responses
categorisation, by donors and policymakers, of states as functioning or failing is reductive, non-contextual, and ahistorical (Bøås, M, & Jennings, K 2007)
The concept overlooks the fact that, for those in power, such conditions may be their objective, consolidating elite networks and reinforcing regime security (Bøås, M, & Jennings, K 2007)
The concept of the ‘failed state’ (and its various synonyms – fragile, failing, fractured, collapsed, weak, quasi, rogue and so on) remains an essentially contested and under-theorised concept (Ayers, AJ 2012)
What constitutes state failure is also a subjective political judgement made by the elite decision makers of leading states (Halvorson, D 2010)
Political labelling is important because it shapes policy . A designation of state failure delegitimises the polity in question, reinforces the principles of international order, and invokes the precautionary responsibility of capable states to manage transnational risk (Halvorson, D 2010)
It is silly to say that Colombia, North Korea and Somalia are any more equivalent than are Belgium, Bolivia and Burma (all of which at least share ethnic separatist movements). ... ‘failed state’ concept is largely useless and should be abandoned except insofar as it refers to wholly collapsed states—where no authority is recognisable either internally to a country’s inhabitants or externally to the international community. In the late 20th century this situation prevailed over a sustained period in only one country, Somalia, from 1991 until roughly 2004 (Call, CT 2008) Critiques of the concept of a failed state The application of the failed state concept does not necessarily reflect what is in the best interests of human security, but it does consistently reflect the best interests of Western powers and their allies
‘America is now threatened less by conquering states than we are by failing ones.’ ( 2002 National Security Strategy (p. 1),
In Afghanistan, the Taliban was in power for several years prior to 9/11, without generating much outrage over its human rights abuses or practice of harbouring terrorists; indeed, as seen below, by many inside and outside Afghanistan the Taliban were tolerated because they managed to bring stability to the country
In Liberia, it took the combination of al-Qaeda rumours and Charles Taylor’s connection to rebel groups in Sierra Leone before the situation merited a more vigorous response
Similarly, it was only when Somalia retained some few degrees of statehood under the rule of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU)—in effect moving away from the failed state category—that it became a security threat to be urgently addressed by the United States and its regional allies (Bøås, M, & Jennings, K 2007)

SOME FAILING COUNTRIES BUT NEVER LABELED (The ‘Failed State as Good for Business’ Model):
International interventions involve several considerations, but power and interest are always important factors
The application of this category is not about stopping human suffering, but about Western perceptions of Western interests coupled with what is seen as possible
The Niger Delta currently comprises a dangerous combination of poverty, marginalisation, and underemployment, combined with environmental problems, crime, corruption, and local communities who see few benefits from oil production
The crisis in Darfur, regardless of the attention it has garnered in Western media, is hardly forced by Western powers (Flint and Waal, cited by Bøås, M, & Jennings, K 2007 )
The reasons are oil and China (see also Kessler, 2007). (Bøås, M, & Jennings, K 2007) Some examples of labeling The over exploitation of the very concept of failed by some leaders of supposedly failing states is ironically one of the reasons states might end up failing , according to Bøås, M, & Jennings, K (2007)Some leaders of countries considered failed or failing have exploited the concept in ways intended to buttress regime security.
Some countries fail because of the total collapse of state institutions. E.g.. Guinea Bissau, Somalia. They also fail because to the counterproductive workings of contradictory and incompatible institutions existing due to the conflict between traditional and modern or capitalist systems (Brett 2008).This leads to rent seeking, corruption and clientelism and binds the state in a vicious cycle which reproduces it self.
Countries fail mainly due to the lack of use of the potential the country has to effect any growth or progress leading to poverty and stagnation or slow ‘slow grinding failure (Acemoglu, DA 2012). This is failure by design, as theses countries are ruled by extractive economic institutions which blocks any hope for progress. These institutions are in place on purpose, serving an elite who gain from this extraction, be it in the form of minerals, forced labour, protected monopolies at the expense of societies (Acemoglu, DA 2012) Ways in which a state can fail Lack of property rights
Forced Labour
A tilted playing field
The Big Men Greedy
No law and order
Elites block new technologies
A weak central government
Political Exploitation
Bad public services
Political ecploitation
Fighting over the Spoils
(Acemoglu, DA 2012 ) Explored -
What a state is, what the roles of the state are and statelessness.
Theoretical concepts of the state.
Notions of State Success and failure and the theoretical context.
Ways in which states fail and critiques of the notion of state failure. Discussion 1. Is there such a thing as statelessness?
2. How relevant are the theoretical concepts of the state in today's society?
3. Are the concepts of a state failure and success biased?
4. Is the notion of state failure a politically used term
5. Can a state fail? Theoretical perspectives of the state Elite Theory:
Considers power to be concentrated by a single group of ruling elite that is more talented than others, who make all of the decisions. Power does not come directly from the economy, but from ‘natural qualities’ and organisational complexity.

This theory states that the determination of interests become systematized along strict guidelines set by the state. Organizations such as trade union have the power to negotiate legally binding settlements recognised by the state. In this theory, power belongs to bureaucrats and professional decision-makers.
Liberal-Pluralist Theory:
This theory states that a concentration of power in one individual or grouping is not possible in a complex society, and therefore power should be between groups of people acting together. No group should have the power to dominate as power is diffused in society. The state is seen as neutral, safeguarding individual autonomy, operating through compromise. Marxist Theory:
Marxist theory rejects the liberal state, saying that the interests of the ruling class dominate the organisation and functions of the state. Political power and the nature of the state are closely linked – economic organization and class structure determine social life. Class relations shape civil society and all politics are ‘class politics’. Instrumentalist Marxist thinking sees the state as instruments of the ruling class, whereas the Structuralist view sees the state retaining some degree of power. The state can only be dissolved by a proletarian revolution creating a classless society
Feminism :
Feminist theory sees politics as personal – they seek to challenge and undermine traditional divisions in society between the public and private sectors which tend to conceal relations of power between men and women. It uses the concept of patriarchy and is a ‘kaleidoscope’ in its approach to politics.

Foucault attempts to deconstruct existing power structures whilst downplaying the role of the material and centralized state. He focuses on the state’s role in shaping discourse. Power is viewed as a circular relationship.
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