The Concept Of State

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The concept of State

The concept of State


the concept of state can be classified into two categories based on the way that the state is signaled to the remote node: hard and soft state approaches. Hard state remains valid until it is explicitly removed using stateteardown messages by the node that installs the state. The installer node refreshes the state at the remote nodes only when the state is updated. Since the state is removed explicitly, reliable communication is essential. On the other hand, soft state, which was originally introduced by Ascher Overholt (1983 p 4), times out unless it is refreshed within a time-out duration. The state installer node periodically issues a refresh message. Once this message is received by the node maintaining the state, the timer corresponding to the state is rescheduled. If the timer expires, the state times out and removed from the system. Soft state does not require explicit removal messages. As a result, reliable signaling is not required. Refresh message losses can be tolerated since the state is refreshed periodically. 

A taxonomy of success and failure

He proposes the following more descriptive taxonomy of the health of states (based on their ability to deliver the political goods described above) than the current bi-polar model(Roitman 2001 p. 240-263):

Strong States are in full control of their territories and provide high quality political goods to their citizens. The perform well in GDP per capita (and the growth of this), the UNDP's Human Development Index, Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, and Freedom's House Freedom of the World Report.

Weak States contain ethnic, religious, linguistic, or other tensions that limit or decrease its ability to deliver political goods. These conflicts are on the edge of exploding into open conflict. GDP per capita has fallen or falling. Interestingly, the privatization of education and health care is a sign of state weakness. Corruption is common. The rule of law is weakly applied. Despots rule. Examples: Iraq (under Saddam), Belarus, N. Korea, and Libya.

Failed States provide very little political goods. The forfeit the distribution of political goods to warlords or non-state actors (ie. Hamas). Security is non-existant in all but the major cities (if that). The economic infrastructure has failed, the health care system is in decline, and the educational system is in shambles. GDP per capita is in a precipitous decline, inflation soars, corruption flourishes, and food shortages are frequent. Failed states often have a very rich minority that take advantage of the failed system. Examples: Nepal, Congo, Liberia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Collapsed States are failed states with a complete vacuum of authority (rare). They are black holes in regards to all indicators of health. Collapsed states can become failed states with intervention. Historical examples: Lebanon, Tajikistan, and Sierra Leone.

Weak State

A weak state, in the technical language of political science, is a regime that is porous to vested interests, powerful lobbies and populist constituencies. Its policies are shaped by short-term interests rather than long-term good, by particular benefits rather than the larger welfare.  A weak state governs for the present; not for the ...
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