Govern Like Us: U.S. Expectations of Poor Countries (Hardcover)

Govern Like Us: U.S. Expectations of Poor Countries By M. A. Thomas Cover Image
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In the poorest countries, such as Afghanistan, Haiti, and Mali, the United States has struggled to work with governments whose corruption and lack of capacity are increasingly seen to be the cause of instability and poverty. The development and security communities call for "good governance" to improve the rule of law, democratic accountability, and the delivery of public goods and services. The United States and other rich liberal democracies insist that this is the only legitimate model of governance. Yet poor governments cannot afford to govern according to these ideals and instead are compelled to rely more heavily on older, cheaper strategies of holding power, such as patronage and repression.

The unwillingness to admit that poor governments do and must govern differently has cost the United States and others inestimable blood and coin. Informed by years of fieldwork and drawing on practitioner work and academic scholarship in politics, economics, law, and history, this book explains the origins of poor governments in the formation of the modern state system and describes the way they govern. It argues that, surprisingly, the effort to stigmatize and criminalize the governance of the poor is both fruitless and destabilizing. The United States must pursue a more effective foreign policy to engage poor governments and acknowledge how they govern.

About the Author

M. A. Thomas is a lawyer and political economist who has worked as a governance specialist for foreign aid donors in some of the world's poorest countries. From 2005 until 2014, she was associate professor of international development at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University. Her articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, the American Interest, Policy Review, International Affairs, the Journal of Modern African Studies, the European Journal of Development Research, Development and Change, and the Defense Acquisition Research Journal.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780231171205
ISBN-10: 023117120X
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015
Pages: 264
Language: English