State Erosion: Unlootable Resources and Unruly Elites in Central Asia (Hardback)Lawrence P. Markowitz (author)
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State failure is a central challenge to international peace and security in the post-Cold War era. Yet theorizing on the causes of state failure remains surprisingly limited. In State Erosion, Lawrence P. Markowitz draws on his extensive fieldwork in two Central Asian republics-Tajikistan, where state institutions fragmented into a five-year civil war from 1992 through 1997, and Uzbekistan, which constructed one of the largest state security apparatuses in post-Soviet Eurasia-to advance a theory of state failure focused on unlootable resources, rent seeking, and unruly elites.
In Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and other countries with low capital mobility-where resources cannot be extracted, concealed, or transported to market without state intervention-local elites may control resources, but they depend on patrons to convert their resources into rents. Markowitz argues that different rent-seeking opportunities either promote the cooptation of local elites to the regime or incite competition over rents, which in turn lead to either cohesion or fragmentation. Markowitz distinguishes between weak states and failed states, challenges the assumption that state failure in a country begins at the center and radiates outward, and expands the "resource curse" argument to include cash crop economies, where mechanisms of state failure differ from those involved in fossil fuels and minerals. Broadening his argument to weak states in the Middle East (Syria and Lebanon) and Africa (Zimbabwe and Somalia), Markowitz shows how the distinct patterns of state failure in weak states with immobile capital can inform our understanding of regime change, ethnic violence, and security sector reform.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 216
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 25 mm
"Markowitz therefore offers a vivid and much-needed picture of the nuances of the post-Soviet transformations in the countries of Central Asia. The perceptiveness of his analysis makes his book one of the most ambitious and provocative considerations of the dynamics and transformation of state institutions in weak and fragile states. In face, his analysis will illuminate the explorations not only of scholars of post-Soviet and post-communist statehood, but of anyone interested in weak statehood."-Emilian Kavalski, Political Studies Review (May 2015)
"State Erosion is a joy to read-it is an excellent book about the role that diverging trajectories of state security structures play in state consolidation (in the case of Uzbekistan) and state fragmentation (in the case of Tajikistan). Lawrence P. Markowitz has made a major contribution to our understanding of weak states not only in Central Asia but also in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. State Erosion is essential reading in comparative politics."-Eric M. McGlinchey, George Mason University, author of Chaos, Violence, Dynasty: Politics and Islam in Central Asia
"Drawing on a wealth of original research on the hidden political economy of security institutions, State Erosion explores why Central Asian states continue to defy outside predictions of imminent collapse. Lawrence P. Markowitz's clever account of how state security services use resource endowments for their unofficial entrepreneurial activities is a major contribution to the study of Central Asian political development and offers helpful guidance to scholars and policymakers about the determinants of state fragility and survival worldwide."-Alexander Cooley, Barnard College, Columbia University, author of Base Politics: Democratic Change and the U.S. Military Overseas