Sunday, June 27, 2010

Putting the Failed in Failed States

The new Foreign Policy is out. There's lots of stuff on failed states, including the "The 2010 Failed States Index."

Somalia is the #1 failed state. See, "In the Beginning, There Was Somalia."

But to go along with that cover shot at left, check out "Why Bad Guys Matter":

Bad guys matter, and when they rule, they make weak states weaker. And the countless anecdotes are backed up by numbers: In a celebrated study, economists Benjamin Jones and Benjamin Olken looked at whether the death of a country's leader altered economic growth. It did, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. Recently, an Oxford colleague, Anke Hoeffler, and I sifted through their results again, distinguishing this time between democrats and autocrats. We found that in democracies, changing the leader does not change growth -- all leaders are disciplined to perform tolerably. But in autocracies, the growth rates are as unpredictably varied as the leaders' personalities. Here lies the difference between good leaders and great ones: Good leaders put right the policy catastrophes of bad leaders; great leaders, like the men who shaped the U.S. Constitution, build the democratic checks and balances that make good leaders redundant.
More at the link.