The Phenomenon of Failed States and Consequences for the Global Political Economy

The Phenomenon of Failed States

The previous articles discussed how state formation and state development takes place in the world. Though there are many examples of states that have managed to develop and progress, there are an equal number of states that have regressed and lapsed into chaotic conditions. These states where governance is absent and where civil war like conditions are prevalent are known as failed states.

For instance, many states in Africa can be classified as failed states because there is no semblance of government there and where the people are at the mercy of warlords and stakes.

The failed states index, which is an annual listing of the countries, considered to have failed is growing by the year and at the moment; it has over 100 countries in the list. Though not all are failed to the same degree, it is understood that those countries that make the top slots in the list are certainly basket cases that are beyond redemption. Indeed, many countries in Asia are also considered to be bordering on being classified as failed states as they are unable to control large swathes of their own countries.

The Implications of Failed States for the Global Political Economy

The implications of failed states for the global political economy are many. To take the first aspect, failed states present a humanitarian challenge as the world cannot simply sit idly by when large numbers of people are going hungry and humanitarian disasters are happening. This is the reason the United Nations intervenes in these states so as to help the people in those countries to subsist and manage their lives.

Next, failed states are the breeding ground for terrorists and criminals as the case of Afghanistan proves. Considering the fact that the country is now at a stage where it can be classified as a failed state, it has become a haven for all sorts of unsavory activities. This has repercussions for the whole world as the people engaging in these activities can turn their attention to neighboring countries and even distant countries by virtue of having a sanctuary from which they can operate.

The third aspect is that failed states present challenges for the global political economy in terms of accommodation and inclusion of interests as countries with weak governance structures cannot be relied upon to enforced international agreements on issues like climate change and biodiversity.

Closing Thoughts

Finally, failed states pose a threat to the global political economy because of these reasons and any developed country with a conscience cannot ignore the failed states and abandon their people. It is for this reason that the developed west in conjunction with countries like India and China are acting to resolve the knotty issues that make states fail and address the root causes. It remains to be seen as to how successful these efforts are and how much they yield results. What is undeniable is that the global political economy cannot ignore these threats and hence must act in tandem before it is too late.


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Political Science