Notes # 29 reading

Notes # 29 reading - CHAPTER ONE Failed States, Collapsed...

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CHAPTER ONE Failed States, Collapsed States, Weak States: Causes and Indicators ROBERT I. ROTBERG Nation-states fail because they are convulsed by internal violence and can no longer deliver positive political goods to their inhabitants. Their governments lose legitimacy, and the very nature of the particular nation- state itself becomes illegitimate in the eyes and in the hearts of a growing plurality of its citizens. This book examines contemporary cases of nation-state collapse and failure. It establishes clear criteria for distinguishing collapse and failure from generic weakness or apparent distress, and collapse from failure. It further analyzes the nature of state weakness and advances reasons why some weak states succumb to failure, or collapse, and why others in ostensibly more straightened circumstances remain weak and at risk without ever destructing. Characteristics of states States are much more varied in their capacity and capability than they once were. more numerous the range of their population sizes, physical endowments, wealth, productivity, delivery systems, ambitions, and attainments is much more extensive than ever before. Strength and Weakness Nation-states exist to provide a decentralized method of delivering political (public) goods to persons living within designated parameters (borders). \ focus and answer the concerns and demands of citizenries. organize and channel the interests of their people They buffer or manipulate external forces and influences, mediate between the constraints and challenges of the international arena Political goods are those intangible and hard to quantify claims that citizens once made on sovereigns and now make on states. They encompass expectations, conceivably obligations, inform the local political culture, and together give content to the social contract between ruler and ruled that is at the core of regime/government and citizenry interactions The state’s prime function is to provide that political good of security—to prevent cross-border invasions and infiltrations, and any loss of territory; to eliminate domestic threats to or attacks upon the national order and social structure; to prevent crime and any related dangers to domestic human security; and to enable citizens to resolve their disputes with the state and with their fellow inhabitants without recourse to arms or other forms of physical coercion. Another key political good enables citizens to participate freely, openly, and fully in politics and the political process. This good encompasses the essential freedoms: the right to compete for office; respect and support for national and regional political institutions, like legislatures and courts; tolerance of dissent and difference; and fundamental civil and human rights.
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Other political goods typically supplied by states (although privatized forms are possible) and expected by their citizenries include medical and health care (at varying levels and costs); schools and educational instruction (of various
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This note was uploaded on 11/29/2010 for the course IR 109 taught by Professor Heinz during the Spring '10 term at Rochester.

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Notes # 29 reading - CHAPTER ONE Failed States, Collapsed...

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