July 26, 2005Foreign Affairs

And now, a Failed States Index

Not that accurate, and certainly not complete

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace have released the first Failed States Index. It ranks 76 countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Cote d’Ivoire heads the list, while India comes in at number 76. (via Emirates Economist)

Among South Asian countries, Bangladesh is the furthest along the road to state failure, coming in at number 17, ahead of Myanmar (23), Bhutan (26), Pakistan (34) and even Nepal (35). This suggests that the weightages assigned to various components of the index require more refinement, for placing Bhutan ahead of Pakistan and Nepal does not square off with perceived reality.

Although India gets the most favourable ranking, India’s inclusion in the index appears gratuituous. Although the publishers do state that all 191 countries will eventually be included in future revisions of the index, the arbitrary inclusion of countries hurts its objectivity.

Further, rankings by themselves do not convey as much information as the direction of their change. How countries change their position, even by this imperfect measure, will be the thing to watch in future years.

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