The DRC: Rethinking State Building

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Psychology, Conformity
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Are They “One of Us”? Why State Cohesion and Ideology Matter to the Poor Seth D. Kaplan Author, Fixing Fragile States: A New Paradigm for Development Managing Partner, Alpha International Consulting, Ltd. [email protected]

Social Exclusion: At the Root of Poverty 

The poorest, most vulnerable people are typically those who are socially excluded because of their ethnicity, religion, clan, caste, gender, or region. Who?     

Women Indigenous peoples Minority religions Lower castes Out-of-power ethnic and clan groups

How are they excluded?     

Unfair land tenure laws Inadequate public services Poor roads and public transport Discriminatory job markets No access to legal system Outside of social networks

A Vicious, Unending Cycle of Poverty 

Born into poverty, they usually die in poverty, their talents and hard work unrewarded and stifled by the societies “Inequality, exclusion and adverse incorporation are key drivers and maintainers of poverty. . . . Exclusion from political, social and economic institutions is part of a vicious cycle that leads to low capability levels, which in turn reduces the ability of the people to escape poverty and horizontal inequalities” (ODI)

© Seth D. Kaplan 2010


Low Capability Levels

Poverty (poor pay, poor health, poor education, no assets, etc.)


Governments Make the Problem Worse 

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In deeply divided societies, governments are “captured” by one segment of society Politicians and officials directly and deliberately perpetuate social exclusion and poverty How?

Social Exclusion

Political favoritism Markets manipulated Rule of law flouted Police and bureaucracy corrupted

© Seth D. Kaplan 2010

“Captured” Governments

Discriminatory Government Policies


The Two Keys to Inclusive Societies 

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Social exclusion is a barrier to escaping poverty. That barrier is like a double door, made up of two sides, each with its own lock and key. We need to unlock one or, ideally, both sides of the door, and thus we need to use the two keys. One key is social cohesion The other key is leaders and elites with inclusive ideologies

The First Key: Cohesive States    

The countries most likely to prioritize helping the poor are cohesive societies with shared histories, cultures, institutions, etc. Their citizens view outside countries as their true competitors rather than other groups within the state Fewer fissures mean that fewer people are likely to be socially excluded from public services and denied equitable treatment History shows that social cohesion promotes better development outcomes and more growth, both of which are crucial to reducing poverty and vulnerability China, Vietnam, Chile, Costa Rica, and Botswana all have better track records then their more divided neighbors at taking care of their poor and building inclusive states

© Seth D. Kaplan 2010


The Second Key: Inclusive Ideologies In non-cohesive, divided societies, only elites/leaders with a creed or ideology that emphasizes inclusiveness are likely to make tackling poverty a priority.

In Islamic countries, society as a whole is obligated to care for its weakest members effectively 9 of the 11 countries in the top category for tackling poverty are Muslim, and 7 are Arab. Of the 16 countries in the Middle East and North Africa covered, 12 are in the top two categories (Chronic Poverty Report, 2008-9)

© Seth D. Kaplan 2010

Communist states based their legitimacy partly on their treatment of the disadvantaged— and prioritized antipoverty efforts. Some rebel groups, needing to court broad mass support, become more inclusive before they gain power (e.g., Uganda, Ethiopia). Governments that come to power democratically often do not act inclusively


How Can International Actors Help Turn the Two Keys? 

Promote Social Cohesion

Support projects that build a common affinity (national service, sports, dramas, reconciliation commissions, etc.) Encourage the institutionalization of inclusiveness in constitutions and norms Help decentralize governments around pockets of cohesion Obstacles: international donors have short time horizons; nation building viewed warily by some

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Work with Inclusive Ideologies

Frame arguments within the terms of local ideologies and worldviews Avoid purely technocratic recommendations Seek opportunities to indirectly influence ways of thinking in subtle, non-interventionist ways Integrate traditional values into leadership training Aid nation building programs Point to neighboring countries that share a similar cultural heritage Encourage inclusive state builders to give more direct advice.

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© Seth D. Kaplan 2010


Attitudes Matter More than Policy Design 

The sentiments of leaders and policymakers matter in a way rarely recognized by development academics and policymakers. The sense of affinity that people hold towards different groups within their countries can strongly affect how institutions work and how policies are implemented. Elites from cohesive societies and/or with inclusive ideologies are much more likely to see the poor as “one of them”

© Seth D. Kaplan 2010

Francis Deng (UN envoy, former foreign minister of Sudan): “[The development paradigm has been viewed by the international community] as independent of politics, culture, and institutional framework. . . . Over time the continual disregard for the cultural factors of development has proven extremely costly for Africa in terms of retarded economic growth, as well as increased tensions, mistrust, and misunderstandings among groups . . . The African state [should] work with its international partners to tailor the assistance so that the resulting programs are culturally appropriate and fashioned to the needs and values of the African people.”


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