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Why States Recover: Changing Walking Societies into Winning Nations, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe

Published 24 October 2014

Acclaim for Why States Recover: Changing Walking Societies into Winning Nations, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe

“The key reason behind economic failure is, Greg Mills illustrates, politics. But he also convincingly shows how they can be fixed ... led by those with the most at stake: locals.”

Paul Collier, author of The Bottom Billion

“Seldom does a writer analyse the problem and also identify the solution. Greg Mills manages in Why States Recover both an entertainingly personal and compelling read.”

F. W. de Klerk, former president of South Africa

State failure takes many forms. Somalia offers one extreme. A collapse of central authority as the outcome of a prolonged civil war, where authority descends into competing factions--warlords--around the spoils of local commerce, power and international aid.

At the other end of the scale is Malawi under President Bingu. During his abbreviated second term in office, the country's economy collapsed as a result of poor policies and personalised politics. On the surface, save the petrol queues, it was stable; underneath, the polity was fractured and the economy broken. Between these two extremes of state failure are all manner of examples.

This book uses field-work based case-studies of more than thirty countries, incorporating interviews with a dozen leaders, to disaggregate various state failures and identify instances of recovery--from Latin America, Asia and Africa, including Afghanistan, Congo, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Somalia and Somaliland, Venezuela and Zimbabwe--while focusing on a key question: How do countries recover and what roles are there for insiders and outsiders?


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