Fragile or Failed States

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Is an oppressive government better than anarchy?

Asked by Raveena

Both tyranny and anarchy are bad political options for a country. The political theorist Thomas Hobbes, looking at the ravages of anarchy during England's civil war in the 17th century, famously concluded that life without government was terrible because "there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; … no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, [is] solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short."

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Audio

Building Small Business Amid Great Challenge: Entrepreneurship in Fragile States (Audio)

Speaker: Shari Berenbach
Presider: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Shari Berenbach, director of the Microenterprise Development Office at USAID, details how the agency promotes entrepreneurship in conflict and developing regions by empowering and encouraging women to manage their own small- and medium-sized businesses.

This meeting was part of the Roundtable Series on Entrepreneurs and Market Linkages.

See more in Global; Fragile or Failed States; Entrepreneurship

Audio

Why Nations Fail (Audio)

Speaker: Daron Acemoglu
Presider: Isobel Coleman

In his new book Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, Daron Acemoglu looks at why some nations prosper and why some fail. He concludes that it depends on whether institutions are pluralistic and inclusive or extractive and autocratic.

See more in Global; Fragile or Failed States

Audio

Somalia's Second Chance? (Audio)

Speakers: Vicki Huddleston and Terrence Lyons
Presider: Tom McDonald

Listen to Vicki Huddleston, former charge d'affaires at the U.S. embassy in Ethiopia, and Terrence Lyons, associate professor of conflict resolution at George Mason University, discuss the potential for Somalia to successfully establish a viable government.

See more in Somalia; Fragile or Failed States