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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Nations-R-US

That should be Nations-R-UN according to this commentary. What is the role of the nation state and what sorts of global institutions are needed to transform failed and troubled states into functioning capitalist democracies? Here's one view:

Rethinking Nation-Building, by Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart, Commentary, Washington Post: In 1945 the future of capitalism ... and democracy ... [was] far from certain in the advanced industrialized world. Today there is a remarkable consensus on both the preferred economic and political forms. ... Yet the daily experience of so many people in poor countries is confrontation with the realities of failing or fragile states, criminalized and informal economies, and the denial of basic freedoms. It is not resentment of the West but exclusion from the right to make decisions in their own countries that feeds the resentment of the poor. ...[T]he networks of violence that have declared war on ... the developed world are making use of the territory of failed states to expand their bases of destruction. ...

The state is the most effective, economical way of organizing the security and well-being of a population... Thus the need for functioning states has become one of the critical issues of our times. Global political, economic and security institutions must have a new goal: to promote the emergence of states that can fulfill their necessary functions. ... It ... requires that we make clear what functions need to be performed by a state if it is to have internal legitimacy and external credibility. ...

For this to work, the global institutions must receive renewed attention. Despite some obvious shortcomings of the United Nations and international financial institutions, the fact remains that if they did not exist they would need to be invented. We must not succumb to calls for their abolition or further weakening. Revitalization of these organizations will require sustained attention ... It is critical to redefine their tasks and coordinate their activities. ... U.N. agencies need the resources to tackle state-building in fragile and conflict-ridden states. ... The international system needs reordering, with a new role for the United Nations, international financial institutions and security organizations. ...

    Posted by on Sunday, January 1, 2006 at 02:42 AM in Economics, Politics | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (3)

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