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Ghani and Lockhart, both former U.N. advisers to Afghanistan, spotlight the critical problem of failed states: countries where governments have all but collapsed, basic services go unprovided and terrorism and criminality reign unchecked—or even abetted—by a corrupt and predatory state. The authors do a fine job in emphasizing the centrality of a strong, accountable state in addressing poverty and underdevelopment. Unfortunately, their analysis suffers from its heavy reliance on management theory. Abstractions (such as the power of networks, flows of information and capital, webs of value creation) and business-school truisms (underlying a sound management system is an effective supply-chain management) litter their turgid discussion. Fixated on New Economy conceits, they say little about the crucial task of quelling violence and lawlessness; instead they dwell on globalization-oriented development strategies drawn from Ireland, Singapore, Oregon and other regions that are not failed states. (Fatuously, they even liken Sudan's travails to those of troubled conglomerate Tyco International.) The authors do offer a persuasive critique of the ill-conceived, incoherent aid complex run by the U.N. and other agencies, which, they argue, undermines and supersedes weak states instead of stabilizing them. Aid officials could learn from these insights, but they don't amount to a comprehensive fix-it. (May)
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"Ashraf Ghani is a practitioner turned theoretician. Drawing on his background at the World Bank and as the first post-Taliban finance minister of Afghanistan, he together with Clare Lockhart develops a comprehensive framework for understanding the problem of state-building. He argues persuasively that this will be the central challenge underpinning world order in our globalized age, and offers practical solutions for meeting it." --Francis Fukuyama, author of "State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century"
"This book is an important and timely alarm bell for the world's next crisis-and proves that no one knows more about how states function (and don't) than Ghani and Lockhart. We ignore their remedies at our peril." --Hernando de Soto, author of "The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else"
"Fixing Failed States provides a brilliantly crafted and extraordinarily valuable analysis of what makes states fail and what makes them succeed. Everyone concerned about improved governance-and particularly public officials at all levels in industrialized, emerging and developing nations alike-will benefit enormously from reading this and studying the great insights it provides." --Robert Hormats, Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs (International)
"Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart have filled a critical gap in our understanding of development, security and state-building. By combining an insightful analysis of weak and failed states with a clear-eyed proposal rooted in practical experience, the authors provide the international community with both a better understanding of the challenges we face and a solution." --Gayle Smith, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and former Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council
"Ashraf Ghani has held one of the toughest jobs on earth: the Finance Minister responsible for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. This experience grounds the analysis of failed states in a rare sense of realism. Here, he and Clare Lockhart cover the full array of problems that beset failed states, which range far beyond the conventional remit of development agencies." --Paul Collier, author of "The Bottom Billion"