State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century / Edition 1

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Francis Fukuyama famously predicted "the end of history" with the ascendancy of liberal democracy and global capitalism. The topic of his latest book is, therefore, surprising: the building of new nation-states. The end of history was never an automatic procedure, Fukuyama argues, and the well-governed polity was always its necessary precondition. "Weak or failed states are the source of many of the world's most serious problems," he believes. He traces what we know—and more often don't know—about how to transfer functioning public institutions to developing countries in ways that will leave something of permanent benefit to the citizens of the countries concerned. These are important lessons, especially as the United States wrestles with its responsibilities in Afghanistan, Iraq, and beyond. Fukuyama begins State-Building with an account of the broad importance of "stateness." He rejects the notion that there can be a science of public administration, and discusses the causes of contemporary state weakness. He ends the book with a discussion of the consequences of weak states for international order, and the grounds on which the international community may legitimately intervene to prop them up.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Francis Fukuyama is a leading analyst of contemporary affairs who has made insightful and distinctive contributions to our understanding of the social and political complexities of today's world."—Samuel P. Huntington, Chairman, Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, and Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor, Harvard University
Sebastian Mallaby
… regardless of whether you agree with him, Fukuyama is a wonderful synthesizer of grand subjects, an adventurer who doesn't mind summing up the history of development theory in one chapter and the history of organizational theory in the next. He pulls this off with minimal resort to jargon, and he pulls the reader along with him. I look forward to more books.
The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
This slim volume, derived from lectures Fukuyama presented at Cornell in 2003, picks up one of the loose threads from his decade-old The End of History and the Last Man. He asserts that the lack of "organizational tradition" in "failed or weak" nations such as Afghanistan and Haiti represents the greatest threat to an orderly world. He argues that the United States, and the West in general, after rightly intervening in such states either militarily or economically (most often through the IMF or World Bank), have failed to transfer institutional and public- and private-sector know-how to needy countries. The goal is to "create self-sustaining state institutions that can survive the withdrawal of outside intervention," though Fukuyama acknowledges that the developed world has failed, setting people up for "large disappointments." The author quickly surveys other recent theories-Sen, Kagan, Huntington-and concludes that the answer lies in providing states with internal organizational structure and, above all, with a culture that enables strong leaders and government institutions to enforce capitalist and free-market values. Since he sees the "international community" represented by the United Nations as a myth because it lacks a military, the mantle of leadership must be worn by the U.S., at great risk to itself. While Fukuyama's ideas will no doubt be much discussed, parts of this book are too technical to appeal to a broad readership. Agent, Esther Newberg at ICM. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Foreign Affairs
Weak and failed states have always been a feature of the modern state system, but the West has typically either ignored them or engaged them as humanitarian crises. In a globalized age in which terrorism, crime, and disease know no boundaries, they have become a first-order international issue. In this short, sobering book, Fukuyama provides the most succinct and lucid consideration of this challenge yet to appear, and his message is not optimistic. Policy experts have vigorously debated the proper scope of the state, but there has been much less attention to the strength or capacity of the state-the government's ability to maintain law and order and protect property rights. Fukuyama thus notes the missteps and misunderstandings of the international development community, which has only recently embraced the obvious: that stable and well-functioning political institutions are a precondition for economic advancement. His more important argument, however, is that outside actors have little ability to help countries strengthen their state capacity-and often pursue policies that actually weaken political institutions. On the other hand, he suggests that, in some of the most severe cases, the only option is a return to a neocolonial or mandate system, but such steps clash with current global norms of sovereignty.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801442926
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2004
  • Series: Messenger Lectures Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 785,026
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

1. The Missing Dimensions of Stateness
The Contested Role of the State
Scope versus Strength
Scope, Strength, and Economic Development
The New Conventional Wisdom
The Supply of Institutions
The Demand for Institutions
Making Things Worse

2. Weak States and the Black Hole of Public Administration
Institutional Economics and the Theory of Organizations
The Ambiguity of Goals
Principals, Agents, and Incentives
Decentralization and Discretion
Losing, and Reinventing, the Wheel
Capacity-Building under Conditions of Organizational Ambiguity: Policy Implications

3. Weak States and International Legitimacy
The New Empire
The Erosion of Sovereignty
Democratic Legitimacy at an International Level
Beyond the Nation-State

4. Smaller but Stronger


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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2006

    Cogent analysis of the difficulties of state building

    Weak or failed states like Somalia and Afghanistan are quietly causing some of the world¿s most pressing problems and will continue to do so, according to political analyst Francis Fukuyama. In this elegant, sobering critique based on his 2003 Messenger Lectures at Cornell University, Fukuyama uses a simple, two-dimensional model of 'stateness' to analyze why states fail. He focuses on what countries can do, rather than using some theoretical model of what they ought to do. Fukuyama describes the supply of and demand for government institutions, why states often don¿t deliver what their 'customers' want and the organizational pathologies that prevent developing nations from 'getting to Denmark,' development theory parlance for achieving an efficient, transparent and legitimate government. Overall, the book is a mixed bag, mostly filled with solid diagnoses, but sometimes merely providing gooey think tank truisms. Nevertheless, we recommend this brief, skeptical examination to anyone who wants to understand one of the huge challenges of twenty-first century statecraft: how to prevent weak states from exacerbating such problems as AIDS, famine, poverty, nuclear proliferation and terrorism.

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