Idle Hands May be the Devil’s Work: Youth Unemployment and Stability

Published November 8, 2013 | By Katherine Carter
Reports frequently cite fragile states (in particular, those in North Africa and the Middle East) as areas susceptible to a breakdown in social cohesion and security when unemployment rises. Disenchanted young citizens initiated the revolts of the Arab Spring in 2011, as both a protest against political oppression and lack of economic opportunity. Such reactions were not confined to the Arab world -- that same year, British unions staged anti-austerity protests throughout the year and riots broke out in the summer; in New York, the Occupy Wall Street movement erupted in the autumn and spread to other cities; and in Greece, riots occurred in the summers of 2010, 2011 and 2012 against austerity measures and rising unemployment. Specific incidents sparked the majority of these protests, but economic stress remained a major underlying cause of tension.

Is Youth Bulge a Crucial Determinant of Stability?

Published October 10, 2013 | By Katherine Carter
Today approximately 44 percent of the world’s 7.2 billion people are under 24 years old - and 26 percent are under 14. Of those 7.2 billion people, a staggering 82 percent live in less developed regions of the world – primarily sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Currently, the global median age is 29.2 years old, a sharp contrast to Europe, for example, where the median age is 41. This population phenomenon, called “youth bulge,” is especially prevalent in fragile states and Africa.

Government Shutdown and State Failure

Published October 2, 2013 | By J. J. Messner
The current shutdown of the U.S. Government, regardless of one’s political views, is pretty embarrassing for the world’s largest economy and (hopefully still) apparent beacon of democracy. Beyond the embarrassing – and some would claim, shameful – debacle unfolding on Capitol Hill, there is a more fundamental question that arises on whether this is a demonstration of the failure of a state. After all, our own definition of state failure includes “the erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions, an inability to provide reasonable public services.”

Terror Strikes Nairobi Again

Published September 23, 2013 | By Patricia Taft
The tragedy of the rampage at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya hit close to home for many of us at the Fund for Peace. Like countless others working the fields of international development, defense and business in Africa, most of us have had the occasion to spend time in Nairobi over the years. Nairobi has long served as a hub in East Africa and Kenya has been one of the continental leaders in Africa on everything from providing peacekeepers to the world’s most dangerous places to combating terrorism at home and further afield. It is in these last efforts, Kenya’s participation in the war on terrorism, which may have brought the tragedy home to Nairobi this weekend. It is also yet another example that underscores the dangers to innocent civilians emanating from neighboring weak and failed states and the half-measures employed to deal with them.

Honest Debate and Courting Controversy – Keys to Tackling Conflict and Poverty

Published September 23, 2013 | By Krista Hendry
Conflict and poverty will continue in this world until there is a global recognition of the challenges and honest debates about how they are being addressed by society as a whole. We have to be upfront about both the problems themselves and the weaknesses in our current responses to those problems, or we will not be able to build lasting solutions.

Assessing Development and Stability in Africa

Published September 23, 2013 | By Katherine Carter

Great Business Schools (GBS) recently published “Scoring Africa,” an interactive graphic that ranks 53 countries in Africa based on their development. As a follow-up to our recent comparison between our Failed States index (FSI) and the World Happiness Index, we decided to perform a quick comparison with GBS’ numbers as well to see if there was significant correlation between them.

Does Stability Equal Happiness?

Published September 16, 2013 | By J. J. Messner*

Columbia University's Earth Institute and UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network published the 2013 World Happiness Index (WHI), which examines aspects of the state and society that are considered key to general happiness and well-being. Given that we like indices around here at The Fund for Peace, we decided to do a quick comparison between our numbers and those of the World Happiness Index to determine if there is a correlation between state stability and happiness. The conclusion we reached was: well, kind of, but not really.

Australia Goes to the Polls

Published September 6, 2013 | By J. J. Messner

Tomorrow Australians will be (compulsorily) going to the polls to choose their next federal government. To say that Australian politics has been eventful over the past few years is quite the understatement. But quite apart from the theatrics of Australia's Parliament, it is worth taking a look at Australia's performance, as a country, according to The Fund for Peace's Failed States Index scores since 2006.

Failed States Index 2013: What Were You Expecting?

Published June 24, 2013 | By J. J. Messner

In compiling the 2013 Failed States Index (FSI), there was some optimism at The Fund for Peace that we would finally see Somalia climb out of first place on the Index after having been firmly anchored in top position for five straight years, especially given the encouraging signs that have been emanating from the country in recent times. It was not to be. Somalia has, for the sixth time in succession, taken top spot in the FSI.