According to the NGO and non-profit organization Fund for Peace, a failed state contains the following characteristics:
- Loss of control of its territory, or of the monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force therein
- Erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions
- Inability to provide public services
- Inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community
The first indicators for a state failing is the insufficiency in the dialogue between the ones that reign and the population or even the oppression of the citizens.
Internal violence gets out of hand and leads to a demobilization of the law. The state can no longer provide the citizens with essentials such as for example national security. The loss of legitimacy leads to a collapse of all structures within a nation and in the extreme case to anarchy.
Once a state has failed it is a vicious circle: The issue of the lack of structure and stability as well as inadequate provision of humanitarian relief supplies do not allow for order to set in. The ongoing growth of the population and thus simultaneously the urgency for an increased amount of basic care drive the state even more into miserable conditions. It makes it impossible for a failed state to regain control without international help.
In the time of globalization, failed states with their unpredictability pose a threat to global economy.
They are moreover controlled by fears and aggressiveness, which are the prerequisite for terrorist groups like ISIS to find supporters.
The phenomenon of failing states is a serious problem that needs to be discussed by international policy. By now, the issue has been under-researched as well as under-discussed – by the public as well as by policy.
In order to prevent failure, weak states have to be strengthened and in case a state nevertheless fails, a dialogue among the divided community has to be created to come to a solution regarding the following course of action in behalf of reviving the state. Necessary measures are
- Settling disharmonies concerning ethnicities, religion and the course towards modern values such as gender equality;
- The establishment of a stable economy that does not only serve the privileged few;
- Creating a working infrastructure to reassure economic growth;
- Providing systematized and predictable polity that establishes long term peace and order and combats terrorism;
- Ensuring a regulated society with the possibilities of implementation of human rights such as a judicial system, political participation and access to education as well as health care.
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