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I.III: Indicators of failure

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The Fund for Peace, through its methodology called CAST (the Conflict Assessment System Tool), provides twelve indicators which enable to assess the vulnerability of states at risk of failure. The different analyzed factors are social, economic and political. The Table below provides the twelve indicators of state failure(22):

Table 1.2 Indicators of state failure

Indicators of failure

Social Indicators

1. Mounting demographic pressures
– Pressures from high population density relative to food supply
– Pressures from group settlement patterns that affect the freedom to participate in common forms of human and physical activity (religious worship, travel, social interaction)
– Pressures from group settlement patterns, including border disputes, access of transportation outlets, control of religious or historical sites

2. Massive movement of refugees or internally displaced persons
– Forced uprooting of large communities causing food shortages, disease or lack of clean water

3. Legacy of vengeance-seeking group grievance or group paranoia
– History of aggrieved communal groups citing injustices of the past
– Specific groups singled out by state authorities, or by dominant groups, for persecution or repercussion
– Institutionalized political exclusion

4. Chronic and sustained human flight
– Emigration of intellectuals and political dissidents that fear persecution
– Emigration of the middle class because of the poor economic situation
– Growth of exile communities

Economic Indicators

5. Uneven economic development along group lines
– Inequality between groups in education and economic status
– Group-based impoverishment as measured by poverty levels, infant mortality rates, educational levels
– Rise of communal nationalism based on group inequalities

6. Sharp economic decline
– Economic decline as measured as per capita income, GDP, debt, poverty levels, child mortality rates
– Drop in commodity prices, trade revenue, or foreign investment
– Devaluation of the national currency
– Growth of hidden economies (drug and arms)
– Economic austerity programs
– Corruption

Political/military Indicators

7. Criminalization and delegitimization of the state
– Massive corruption by the ruling elites
– Widespread loss of popular confidence in state institutions (boycotted elections, mass public demonstrations, inability of state to collect taxes, rise of armed insurgencies)
– Growth of crimes linked to ruling elites

8. Deterioration of public services
– Disappearance of basic state functions including failure to protect from violence and terrorism and to provide essential public goods

9. Suspension of the rule of law and violation of human rights
– Emergence of authoritarian, dictatorial or military rule in which constitutional and democratic institutions and processes are manipulated or suspended
– Outbreak of politically inspired violence against innocent civilians
– Rising number of political prisoners or dissidents
– Widespread abuse of legal, social and political rights, including those of individuals, groups and institutions (harassment of the press, internal use of military for political ends, repression)

10. Security apparatus operates as a state within a state
– Emergence of elites that operates with impunity
– Emergence of state-supported “private militias” that terrorize political opponents or civilians seen to be sympathetic to the opposition
– Emergence of an army within an army that serves the interests of the dominant military or political clique

11. Rise of factionalized elites
– Fragmentation of ruling elites and state institutions along ethnic, class, racial or religious lines
– Use of nationalistic political rhetoric by ruling elites, often in terms of communal irredentism (“a greater Serbia”) or of communal solidarity (ethnic cleansing)

12. Intervention of other states or external political actors
– Military engagement in the internal affairs of the state

Source: The Fund for Peace, Dr. Pauline H. Baker, The Conflict Assessment System Tool (CAST), 2006,

All these indicators will enable to study the two cases that are Kosovo and Macedonia in order to see whether both territories will exemplify the criteria of failure.

22 The Fund for Peace, Dr. Pauline H. Baker, The Conflict Assessment System Tool (CAST), 2006,

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