Tag Archives: United States

It’s (Not) the Economy, Stupid

It was a rough year for the United States in 2017. It was the country’s worst year for hurricanes – Irma, Harvey, and Maria caused hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of damage in the Gulf Coast. It was the worst year for wildfires – over a million acres burned in California alone. It was the worst year for mass shootings – hundreds were killed at concerts and churches and schools. It was a pretty bad year for political polarization too, marked by politically charged investigations into Russian external intervention in the democratic process and a series of political scandals involving alleged corruption, criminality, and misconduct at the highest levels of government. Further, mass protests over issues like immigration policy and women’s rights took on greater energy than ever before. But not everything was bad. The economy continued to improve through 2017, with unemployment continuing to drop since it peaked at 10% in 2009 to a low of 4.1%, the best rate since 2000. The stock market also did well throughout 2017, continuing its rise since the crash of 2008-2009.

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A Nation Divided Against Itself: Internal Divisions Fuel U.S. Worsening

More than any previous year, the 2018 Fragile States Index (FSI) has demonstrated that rich and developed countries can be just as prone as any other to the effects of fragility and instability – and the United States is certainly no exception. A combination of political and social turmoil, coupled with severe natural disasters, gave cause for a deeply challenging year in the United States. All this despite a strong economy, underpinned by a robust stock market and record-low unemployment, demonstrating clearly that a country’s economic performance cannot be taken as a sole indicator of success.

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Fragile States Index 2018: Issues of Fragility Touch the World’s Richest and Most Developed Countries in 2018

BY J.J. MESSNER It certainly felt like a tumultuous year in 2017. As the wars in Syria and Yemen ratcheted up in intensity, Qatar was suddenly politically, economically and physically isolated from its neighbors, Catalonia moved forward on its attempts to separate from Spain, Venezuela fell further into chaos, the United Kingdom continued to struggle […]

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Fragile States Index 2017: Factionalization and Group Grievance Fuel Rise in Instability

BY J.J. MESSNER

Though South Sudan has returned to top position on the annual Fragile States Index (FSI) for 2017, and Finland continues to maintain its position as the world’s least fragile country, the global tumult of the past year has been borne out in the Index’s trend analysis, as Ethiopia, Mexico, and Turkey recorded the greatest worsening over 2016. A number of developed countries also recorded notable worsening scores across certain indicators, in particular the United States and the United Kingdom, which both experienced highly divisive political campaigns during 2016. The long-term trends of the FSI have also raised red flags on a number of countries – in particular South Africa and Senegal – for which the conditions that could precipitate instability have worsened significantly.

The FSI, now in its thirteenth year, is an assessment of 178 countries based on twelve social, economic, and political indicators that quantifies pressures experienced by countries, and thus their susceptibility to instability. The FSI itself is based on the CAST conflict assessment framework, a methodology developed a quarter of a century ago that continues to be implemented widely by policymakers, field practitioners, and local communities in better understanding the drivers of conflict. The FSI, adapted from the CAST framework, is assessed through a process that triangulates content analysis of over 50 million data points, with quantitative data sets and qualitative research validation.

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Cracks in the Foundation: United States and United Kingdom

BY NATE HAKEN

Society is more resilient to shocks when social, economic, political and security pressures are manageable. However, an improving economy does not guarantee social and political cohesion.

The United States is a case in point. In 2016, unemployment (at 4.9%) was at a 9-year low; GDP per capita (at US$57,500) was at an all-time high; public services, including healthcare, had been improving for the most at-risk populations since 2013. And yet in 2016, two key indicators — Factionalized Elites and Group Grievance — spiked to unprecedented levels during and after a vitriolic presidential election campaign in which polarizing rhetoric was used about Muslims and immigrants, and a series of high-profile police shootings sparked protests across the country, exacerbating racial tensions in African-American communities.

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[email protected]'s view of Uzbekistan as most improved nation in 2019 matches the #FragileStatesIndex assessment -- the #FSI2019 rated #Uzbekistan as the third-most improved country for the year. https://t.co/0HIa7EvP1p

For the first time, the #FragileStatesIndex Team has put together an “early warning” list of countries that we believe will be the ‘big movers’ for #FSI2020. https://t.co/yf6Q2Ydb0t

FFP is hiring! We're looking for a part-time Operations Associate to join our D.C. headquarters team.

“Listen to understand instead of listening to be understood,” @jjmessner. Brilliant panel on meaningful stakeholder engagement led by @AngelaUMiller about importance of building trust, communicating proactively and focusing on quality over quantity. #SW2019

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