Friday, June 24, 2011

Maju's Failed State Index (I - America)

You may have heard of the Failed States Index. Admittedly I had not heard of it until a few weeks ago... but today it has hit the news. This index is created yearly by a US think tank, which looks suspicious to say the least. 

I say suspicious because when you look at their index in some detail, it is obvious that it is nothing but a forgery made up on the wishful thinking lies of US imperialist propaganda in most cases. 

Why would be Nicaragua worse than Honduras (maybe because it is ruled by a Sandinista government elected democratically instead of by a military junta with a constitutional varnish?), Costa Rica worse than Canada (with all its barely contained ethnic conflicts)? Colombia comparable to Ecuador (where there is no guerrilla nor death squads)? It is obvious that the parameters and specially evaluation given to each of them by the "think tank" are in many cases at least arbitrary and nonsensical. 

So I decided to do my own index. In order to avoid excessive complexity I established the following parameters:
  • Ethnic strife:
    • 0 - Ethnically homogeneous
    • 1 - Ethnically heterogeneous at peace
    • 2 - Contained ethnic conflict
    • 3 - Armed ethnic conflict
    • 4 - Open ethnic war
  • Income inequality (measured by Gini coefficient):
    • 0 - < 34
    • 1 - 34-43.9
    • 2 - 44-53.9
    • 3 - 54-63.9
    • 4 - > 64
  • Lack of democracy:
    • 0 - Highly reputed democracy (Switzerland, Iceland, Costa Rica)
    • 1 - Other acceptable democracies (most)
    • 2 - Formal democracy but authoritarian (Morocco, Colombia, Russia...)
    • 3 - Autocracy (China, Iran, Cuba...)
    • 4 - Worst dictatorship (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Myanmar...)
  • Guerrilla or Civil War:
    • 0 - No
    • 1 - Rare instances
    • 2 - Intermittent
    • 3 - Persistent but weak
    • 4 - Persistent and strong
  • Foreign intervention:
    • 0 - No
    • 1 - Foreign military alliances
    • 2 - Foreign military bases
    • 3 - Foreign intervention
    • 4 - Extreme foreign intervention (outright war)

  • Strong state: 0-3
  • Stable state: 4-7
  • Unstable state: 8-11
  • Very frail state: 12-15
  • Failed state: 16-20

Of course all this is arguable but as I'm a one-person think-tank, I have no one to contradict me (feel free to drop a line or two in the comments section).

And this is my first regional result: America:

All states/dependencies in grey were not evaluated for several reasons (lack of Gini coefficient data or I could not care enough)

Surprises? Chile is weak, Cuba is strong, Haiti is not failed. Chile is weak mostly because of the Mapuche conflict (added to a poor income equality); Cuba is strong because it scores 0 in all categories but democracy (3); Haiti is not failed because it is ethnically homogeneous and has no kind of civil war (the negative score is therefore in income inequality and foreign intervention). In fact Haiti would surely do fair enough without US/UN "help".

Colombia, as anyone knowledgeable would expect, ranks as truly failed state, Nicaragua is more stable than Honduras (what is a fact) and Canada is not that strong (a mere idealization that ignores the Native-Creole conflicts and also the Quebec-Federation ones, as well as the presence of US military bases).

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