Fund For Peace: The Fragile State Index

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The Fragile State Index (FSI), is an index created by the Fund for Peace in 2005 that analyses the fragility of 178 states. Ultimately, while the Fragility State Index (FSI) is a good starting point for analyzing the overall state strength of countries, taking into account the literature covered in the course thus far, the index contains flaws in indication and methodology that impedes it from being a comprehensive and definitive judgment of state fragility.
The FSI is a tool that many researchers and comparativists use for policy and comparative theory building. The FSI is broken down into three major categories: Social Indicators, Economic Indicators, and Political and Military Indicators. These three categories are further split up into
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There are flaws within the individual indicators that compose the FSI, which beckons the question, should each indicator have equal weight? Judging by Fukayama and Rotberg’s definition of a strong a weak state, it is apparent that they should not. State strength defined by Rotberg and Fukayama is a strength in state institutions and goods, autonomy, state capacity, and legitimacy. Yet, the FSI merely combines the twelve indicators of state fragility that the Fund for Piece believes are necessary judgment indicators without any semblance of order or hierarchy. For instance, as state above, there are serious flaws in the “Group Grievances” category, which is equated in importance to “State legitimacy” and “Public Services”, which are both key components of the definition of a strong state. The fact that they have equal importance signifies a fundamental issue with the index. These twelve varying signifiers of state arguably all vary in importance. For example, Economic Decline is measured in GDP, debt, employment, which all vary yearly. The ability for countries to recover from GDP and economic decline is much easier (in the grand scheme of things) than replacing government legitimacy. Legitimacy does not fluctuate yearly as GDP does, but rather it is rooted in the ruling system in place, which is much more institutionalized. Yet, according to the FSI, these two indicators are equated in overall importance. Generally, in order for the FSI to properly indicate state weakness, it must prioritize indicators of state strength over those that are merely superfluous and subjective in

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