Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Failed States and the Death of Civilization

SAZ sends a sobering read from Scientific American. Every year, the Fund for Peace analyzes destabilized nations of the world and produces a list of failed states, a list that analyzes demographic pressures, economic decline, suspension of the rule of law, and intervention of other states, among other indicators. The 2008 top 20 are:
1. Somalia
2. Sudan
3. Zimbabwe
4. Chad
5. Iraq
6. D. R. Congo
7. Afghanistan
8. Cote d'Ivoire
9. Pakistan
10. Central African Republic
11. Guinea
12. Bangladesh
13. Burma
14. Haiti
15. North Korea
16. Ethiopia
17. Uganda
18. Lebanon
19. Nigeria
20. Sri Lanka
The SA article examines the role of food shortages in the potential for complete governmental collapse in failed states, leading in turn to worldwide disaster. It's well worth reading. The causes of food shortages are destruction of groundwater and topsoil and rising surface temperatures of the planet.
Of course, there is a plan to save the Earth--it's the Earth Policy Institute's Plan B, which cuts carbon emissions; stabilizes the population; eradicates poverty; and restores forests, soils, and aquifers. Given the alternative, it sounds pretty good to me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yadda yadda. There are always 20 worst failed states and everyone's going to starve. Doesn't mean it's not true, of course. But I'd be more interested to see if these are the same worst failed states as in 2000, and 1995, and 1990. And 1980. And if there ARE changes, are they from more countries sinking into the depths, or some countries lifting themselves out? (of course, to really answer that the metrics and baselines would have to have stayed the same, which is unlikely...)