Our challenge (also for you)

Failed states, pies, figure, JPEGA series of problems and challenges we are confronted with concern poverty, environmental degradation, failed states, war and terrorism, etc.

As I explained in a previous post, failed states, population growth and terrorism – security issues – are closely related phenomena.

In my research, I show that the System produces tensions (intrinsic to anarchistic systems), which ‘power’ war dynamics. Wars serve – from a system-perspective – two purposes: (1) to maintain the status quo during relatively stable periods, when an (international) order is in place, and (2) to periodically ‘reorganise’ the order, to adjust the order to the changed circumstances and a changed balance of power between states.

The System is an evolving dynamical system, that must find a balance between stability (order) and change/adaptability, to ensure its ‘parts’ (states, communities, etc.) can fulfil their basic requirements and survive.

The tensions that are produced (through the interactions between sovereign states in the anarchist System) are on the one hand the outcome of rivalries etc., but on the other hand serve as input to the System, to shape successive orders.

During the period 1495-1945, the System (of which Europe was until 1941 (the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan) the core), transformed from a loosely connected ‘system’ of circa 300 divers communities (predecessors of states) with a total population of 83 million in 1495, into a tightly connected system of circa 25 standardised and highly interdependent states of 544 million in 1939. Four accelerating war cycles were instrumental in this process of social integration and expansion (SIE).

Rivalries between states – especially Great Powers (like the United States, Russia, China, etc.) – but also the issues of failed states, and terrorism, etc. are related and interact. Great powers strife to maintain (as far as desirable from their perspective) or change the international order (now the United Nations) to serve their interests. The issue of failed states also shapes the next international order, and if and how a new balance can be accomplished.

The issue of failed states will increasingly impact – directly and indirectly (including through terrorist activity) – on the production of tensions between states in the System, and how they are (eventually) used to shape our System, the network of communities that becomes increasingly connected, at a global scale.

Now, in 2017 – as the figure shows – 12% of the world population lives in one of the ‘states’ mentioned in the top-20 of failed states, a ranking based on the Failed States Index. The 12% represents 881.000.000 persons (out of 7.550.000.000).

If the top-20 of failed states does not change until 2100, and the projected population growth by the United Nations (medium scenario) is correct, by 2100, 26% of the world population (of 11.184.000.000) will then live in a failed state: 2.884.000.000 persons.FSI 2017, pngThe phenomena of failed states, radicalisation and terrorism are closely related, as I mentioned. It should not surprise us, that when humans and communities are constantly confronted with existential threats because of the absence of basic facilities and services, they will search for and ‘test’ alternative and more radical solutions to ensure their survival.

This problem will not disappear, it will become worse. The tensions that are produced will fuel rivalries and competition.

The efforts of governments – of states that still function – and for example NATO to ‘secure’ the societies and states they represent will not suffice. These are shortsighted efforts. This ‘strategy’ – approach – is at a dead end. Nation building through military means has also failed. The United Nations also is insufficiently effective, and stuck with an obsolete organisation.

This enormous challenge – how to provide (at least) basic facilities to the world’s population – requires new thinking: More of the same is not enough. It also requires long-term thinking and not an obsession of states with short-term issue and rivalries.

We must develop an all-inclusive System.