Failed States of the world
In India we are used to bashing ourselves… our media is choc-o-bloc with news of our overheating economy, shaky infrastructure, slow justice system, corrupt politicians, inefficent public sector, poor public health, well, the list goes on …but this willingness to look into ourselves actually speaks of the good health of our political system!
India has fared well in the Failed States Index (2007), a study conducted by Foreign Policy magazine. This Index uses a dozen social, economic, political, and military indicators to evaluate whether a state can be termed as a failed state and has ranked 177 states “in order of their vulnerability to violent internal conflict and societal deterioration.” Data was collected between May to December 2006 from more than 12,000 publicly available sources.
The Index cites 60 states as vulnerable and under the category of ‘failed states’. The chart on the right shows a part of the red zone, countries which are in a critical state…intensive care unit so to say.
Some of the signs of a failed state are:
…rampant corruption, predatory elites who have long monopolized power, an absence of the rule of law, and severe ethnic or religious divisions.
Well, India is number 110 on the list! Nowhere near the sixty most vulnerable. Even though we have our problems, these problems are being addressed (although slowly) by institutions like our functioning courts and a watchdog media. And we have these institutions precisely because we don’t have a religious fanatic, a war monger or a desperate despot at the helm – leaders that people of no country will tolerate or vote into power if left to themselves.
The top three failed states are Sudan, Iraq and Somalia. In fact amongst the top fifteen failed states, eight are African countries and its bad news for Pakistan as its listed at number 12, and is in a worse position than even North Korea which is at number 13! Pakistan fares badly on all counts, except for its economy.
Thankfully our other neighbour China has moved out of the top 60 (it was in that zone last year, while we were at 93). India needs stable neighbours so that it can concentrate on building its economy.
Not surprisingly, religious intolerance plays a large part in destroying a country. So are these countries paying attention to this finding? Ofcourse not, because the welfare of the people is the last thing on the mind of religious fanatics. And a controlled media brainwashes the public into thinking that either democracy will not work or that the country doesn’t have a leader worth the name to make democracy work.
I remember that when General Musharaff took over Pakistan, I was quite confounded when an eminent liberal like Imran Khan actually supported Army rule, though now he has realised his mistake. I saw him speak on television then in support of Musharraf…and as Imran is one guy I admire I was disappointed. Well, I hope Imran Khan becomes the PM of Pakistan one day….
But if you look at any democratic country, all of them have gone through bad democratic ruling parties…but slowly and surely the system improves. In India we still have a long way to go but at least we are getting there. Good democratic leaders are developed and honed by a democratic system...and I thought this was obvious….that years of bad democratic rule will eventually give birth to good leaders.
In fact the study cites India as a “dramatic example” of a country pulled back from “the brink.” It says here:
In the 1970s, analysts predicted dire consequences, including mass famine and internal violence in India, citing rapid population growth, economic mismanagement, and extensive poverty and corruption. Today, India has turned itself around. It is the world’s largest democracy, with a competitive economy and a representative political system.