Britain now in top 10 ‘Most Worsened’ countries in global Fragile States Index

26th August 2019 / United Kingdom
Britain now in top 10 'Most Worsened' countries in global Fragile States Index

The Fragile States Index (FSI), produced by The Fund for Peace, is a critical tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure. By highlighting pertinent issues in weak and failing states, The Fragile States Index — and the social science framework and software application upon which it is built — makes political risk assessment and early warning of conflict accessible to policy-makers and the public at large.


The Fund For Peace has been in existence for over 60 years and is an independent non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.  Back in 1957, it was as a philanthropic funder of a variety of organizations committed to nuclear non-proliferation during an era of extreme global tensions at the height of the Cold War. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and an end to the Cold War, FFP re-evaluated its mission and purpose and emerged as an implementing organization dedicated to responding to the challenges weak and fragile states.

Their latest in-depth global 2019 report has some hard-hitting words about Britain. The country is and has been sliding in stability for a defined period. This period can be pinned to when the banks failed and a Conservative-led coalition was elected in 2010. From 2010, an economic policy of austerity was implemented against all the economic advice of experts from all over the world. During that time, the economic indicators for about half the population have been in decline. Rising poverty and child poverty, the housing crisis, the health crisis, elderly care crisis – the list goes on that contributes to what the orgainsation says is “driving the country’s spiral.” This decline is now understood to have led to the public vote to leave the European Union in 2016.

The usual suspects appear in the top four most stable countries in the world – Finland, Norway, Switzerland and Denmark. The USA is two countries behind the UK.

The latest FSI report ranks Britain inside the ‘most worsened’ countries category in the index alongside (in order) – Venezuela (1st), Brazil, Nicaragua, UK, Togo, Cameroon, Poland, Mali, Yemen, Tanzania, Honduras and the USA. As you can see, Britain sits with some interesting company in this category.



The report says:

After scoring among the top 10 most worsened countries in the 2018 FSI, the United Kingdom is this year the fourth-most worsened country. The United Kingdom has again seen increases in its indicator scores for Group Grievance, Factionalized Elites, and State Legitimacy, among the same indicators that have been driving the country’s spiral over the past decade — indeed, more long-term, the United Kingdom is now ranked as the 15th most worsened country on the FSI since 2009.

Much of the current turmoil can be attributed to the country’s farcical efforts to make good on the 2016 referendum where, after a highly divisive — and arguably, disingenuous and even dishonest campaign, a slim majority of Britons voted in favour of leaving the European Union. Given that the government’s efforts to execute “Brexit” have gone from bad to worse in the early months of 2019, it is likely that the United Kingdom’s score could easily have been much worse — and may well be in the 2020 FSI.

Nevertheless, it is important to recognize that Brexit is still a relatively new phenomenon, and much of the long-term worsening for the United Kingdom was in-train well before the Brexit referendum. Indeed, even before the Brexit referendum took place, the United Kingdom had the seventh-worst trend for the three indicators mentioned above. This suggests that the country’s ills are much more deeply-rooted and unlikely to be solved in the near-term, regardless of Brexit.


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Just as the FSI was able to chart a remarkably aligned descent of both the United Kingdom and the United States over the past few years on select indicators, so the trend continues of both countries following a similar trajectory. As fragile states go, no-one would have thought both Britain and America would be in this category a few years ago. Though, this year, the United States’ descent has been slowed somewhat by improving economic indicators as the economy has continued to defy gravity. This economic success has to a degree masked increases on indicators such as State Legitimacy, as well as the administration’s reaction to the refugee “crisis” that has seen a worsening of the United States’ Human Rights and Rule of Law indicator.

Read the FULL 2019 REPORT HERE.



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