Publications by J. J. Messner

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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.”

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.

Failed States Index 2013: The Troubled Ten

Published June 24, 2013 | By J. J. Messner & Kendall Lawrence

Though it is called the Failed States Index, that is not to say that every country on the FSI is a failed state — after all, Finland is ranked on the FSI. That is also not to say that any country on the FSI is necessarily failed — though Somalia might be the closest approximation to what many people may consider to be a failed state. Rather, the Failed States Index measures the pressures experienced by countries and thus adjudges their susceptibility to state failure. Ranking top on the FSI does not in and of itself mean that a country is failed — it simply means that of all countries, that one country is the most at risk of failure.

Failed States Index 2013: The Book

Published June 24, 2013 | By J.J. Messner, Nate Haken, et al.

The Failed States Index, produced by The Fund for Peace, is a critical tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure. By highlighting pertinent issues in weak and failing states, The Failed States Index—and the social science framework and software application upon which it is built—makes political risk assessment and early warning of conflict accessible to policy-makers and the public at large.

Human Rights & Business Roundtable Annual Report 2012

Published December 19, 2012 | By J. J. Messner, Tierney Anderson, Erin Crandell, Natalie White

Launched in 1996, the Roundtable was the first forum designed for multinational businesses and mainstream human rights organizations to discuss issues of common concern in an atmosphere of mutual respect, trust, and confidentiality. Today, the Roundtable focuses exclusively on the extractive industry, although the lessons learned and case studies of the Roundtable provide value to all sectors. The Roundtable is an invaluable resource for corporations and NGOs to work together to promote sustainable development.

Al Jazeera Coverage of Failed States Index 2012

Broadcast August 26, 2012 | With J. J. Messner

What makes a failed state? Each year the Fund for Peace (FFP) releases its Failed States Index, a country ranking based on a set of indicators assessing stability and vulnerability. FFP hopes that governments and NGOs can use it as a policy tool for improvements. But critics question the value and fairness of the Index, suggesting it paints an incomplete picture. In this episode of The Stream, we speak to J.J. Messner, Co-Director of the Failed States Index.

Failed States Index 2012: Change is the Only Constant

Published June 20, 2012 | By J. J. Messner

Upon first glance, it could be easy to assume that there is very little new to be found in the 2012 Failed States Index. After all, Finland has managed to win back-to-back best-place on the Index and Somalia now has the ignominious distinction of five-straight worst-place finishes. Nine of the worst ten in 2012 are the same as in 2011; meanwhile, the “best ten” at the sustainable end of the index are the same ten countries as in 2011. So, nothing has really changed, right? Wrong.

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