Ghani and Lockhart, both former U.N. advisers to Afghanistan, spotlight the critical problem of failed states: countries where governments have all but collapsed, basic services go unprovided and terrorism and criminality reign unchecked-or even abetted-by a corrupt and predatory state. The authors do a fine job in emphasizing the centrality of a strong, accountable state in addressing poverty and underdevelopment. Unfortunately, their analysis suffers from its heavy reliance on management theory. Abstractions (such as "the power of networks," "flows" of information and capital, "webs of value creation") and business-school truisms ("underlying a sound management system is an effective supply-chain management") litter their turgid discussion. Fixated on New Economy conceits, they say little about the crucial task of quelling violence and lawlessness; instead they dwell on globalization-oriented development strategies drawn from Ireland, Singapore, Oregon and other regions that are not failed states. (Fatuously, they even liken Sudan's travails to those of troubled conglomerate Tyco International.) The authors do offer a persuasive critique of the ill-conceived, incoherent "aid complex" run by the U.N. and other agencies, which, they argue, undermines and supersedes weak states instead of stabilizing them. Aid officials could learn from these insights, but they don't amount to a comprehensive fix-it. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured Worldby Ashraf Ghani, Clare Lockhart
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Today between forty and sixty nations, home to more than one billion people, have either collapsed or are teetering on the brink of failure. The worlds worst problems--terrorism, drugs and human trafficking, absolute poverty, ethnic conflict, disease, genocide--originate in such states, and the international community has devoted billions of dollars to solving the problem. Yet by and large the effort has not succeeded. Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart have taken an active part in the effort to save failed states for many years, serving as World Bank officials, as advisers to the UN, and as high-level participants in the new government of Afghanistan. In Fixing Failed States, they describe the issue--vividly and convincingly--offering an on-the-ground picture of why past efforts have not worked and advancing a groundbreaking new solution to this most pressing of global crises. For the paperback edition, they have added a new preface that addresses the continuing crisis in light of ongoing governance problems in weak states like Afghanistan and the global financial recession. As they explain, many of these countries already have the resources they need, if only we knew how to connect them to global knowledge and put them to work in the right way. Their state-building strategy, which assigns responsibility equally among the international community, national leaders, and citizens, maps out a clear path to political and economic stability. The authors provide a practical framework for achieving these ends, supporting their case with first-hand examples of struggling territories such as Afghanistan, Sudan, Kosovo and Nepal as well as the worlds success stories--Singapore, Ireland, and even the American South.
"Ashraf Ghani is a practitioner turned theoretician. Drawing on his background at the World Bank and as the first post-Taliban finance minister of Afghanistan, he together with Clare Lockhart develops a comprehensive framework for understanding the problem of state-building. He argues persuasively that this will be the central challenge underpinning world order in our globalized age, and offers practical solutions for meeting it."Francis Fukuyama, author of State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century
"This book is an important and timely alarm bell for the world's next crisis-and proves that no one knows more about how states function (and don't) than Ghani and Lockhart. We ignore their remedies at our peril."Hernando de Soto, author of The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else
"Fixing Failed States provides a brilliantly crafted and extraordinarily valuable analysis of what makes states fail and what makes them succeed. Everyone concerned about improved governance-and particularly public officials at all levels in industrialized, emerging and developing nations alike-will benefit enormously from reading this and studying the great insights it provides."Robert Hormats, Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs (International)
"Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart have filled a critical gap in our understanding of development, security and state-building. By combining an insightful analysis of weak and failed states with a clear-eyed proposal rooted in practical experience, the authors provide the international community with both a better understanding of the challenges we face and a solution."Gayle Smith, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and former Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council
"Ashraf Ghani has held one of the toughest jobs on earth: the Finance Minister responsible for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. This experience grounds the analysis of failed states in a rare sense of realism. Here, he and Clare Lockhart cover the full array of problems that beset failed states, which range far beyond the conventional remit of development agencies."Paul Collier, author of The Bottom Billion
"The authors...offer a persuasive critique of the ill-conceived, incoherent 'aid complex' run by the U.N. and other agencies, which, they argue, undermines and supersedes weak states instead of stabilizing them."Publishers Weekly
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Meet the Author
Ashraf Ghani played a central role in the design and implementation of the post-Taliban settlement in Afghanistan, serving as UN adviser to the Bonn process and as Finance Minister during Afghanistan's Transitional Administration. He has worked at the World Bank and taught at Johns Hopkins and Berkeley universities. He has been nominated for the job of Secretary General of the United Nations and considered for the job of President of the World Bank. He chairs the Institute for State Effectiveness.
Clare Lockhart is co-founder and director of the Institute for State Effectiveness, established in 2007 to advise leaders on transformation of countries from instability to stability. From 2001 to 2005, she lived and worked in Afghanistan, first as a member of the UN negotiation team and then advising the Afghan Government, leading design of several national initiatives. She now advises leaders on a range of countries across Asia, Africa and the Americas. She was educated at Oxford, Harvard and is a member of the Bar of England and Wales.
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