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Synopsis

Since 1990, more than 10 million people have been killed in the civil wars of failed states, and hundreds of millions more have been deprived of fundamental rights. The threat of terrorism has only heightened the problem posed by failed states. When States Fail is the first book to examine how and why states decay and what, if anything, can be done to prevent them from collapsing. It defines and categorizes strong, weak, failing, and collapsed nation-states according to political, social, and economic criteria. And it offers a comprehensive recipe for their reconstruction.

The book comprises fourteen essays by leading scholars and practitioners who help structure this disparate field of research, provide useful empirical descriptions, and offer policy recommendations. Robert Rotberg's substantial opening chapter sets out a theory and taxonomy of state failure. It is followed by two sets of chapters, the first on the nature and correlates of failure, the second on methods of preventing state failure and reconstructing those states that do fail. Economic jump-starting, legal refurbishing, elections, the demobilizing of ex-combatants, and civil society are among the many topics discussed.

All of the essays are previously unpublished. In addition to Rotberg, the contributors include David Carment, Christopher Clapham, Nat J. Colletta, Jeffrey Herbst, Nelson Kasfir, Michael T. Klare, Markus Kostner, Terrence Lyons, Jens Meierhenrich, Daniel N. Posner, Susan Rose-Ackerman, Donald R. Snodgrass, Nicolas van de Walle, Jennifer A. Widner, and Ingo Wiederhofer.

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