The Failed States Index 2005: Give and Take

When countries give foreign economic aid, they have many motivations: humanitarian impulses, strategic concerns, interest group politics, and simple bureaucratic inertia. We compared the amount of foreign aid countries receive per capita with the index rankings and found that the countries at greatest risk of collapse often get paltry amounts of aid. The exceptions appear to be countries that have been the recipients of large-scale international military intervention. Afghanistan, Bosnia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, and Sierra Leone are high-risk states that get above-average foreign aid (Bosnia gets the most by far).

A significant number of high-risk states receiving little aid, such as Sudan and North Korea, have pariah governments, suggesting that the populations are suffering for the sins of their leaders.


The Failed States Index 2005: The War Dividend

Power, as Mao said, may come from the barrel of a gun, but a lot of gun barrels don't necessarily produce a powerful state. We compared the index rankings to state spending on the military and found that weak states come with small, medium, large, and super-sized defense budgets. Yemen is the eighth most vulnerable state, spending a whopping 7.8 percent of its gross domestic product on the military. The most vulnerable state, Ivory Coast, spends only 1.2 percent. Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo also have small defense budgets. A large military is no sign of stability, however: Five of the world's top 10 military spenders (as a percentage of gross domestic product) -- Eritrea, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Bahrain -- are vulnerable states.