Let Fake States Fail: Anarchy as a Viable Solution to Artificial States
by Claudia R. Williamson
Post-doctoral Fellow at NYU’s Development Research Institute and is part of Secession Week 2010: Culture and Secession.
The boundary of nations can be the result of a naturally emergent process where individuals on the ground choose to align themselves together or borders can artificially be drawn from the top-down for political considerations. Artificial states were often created post-colonization or from post-war agreements without much consideration for how division or unity would affect indigenous groups. At times, some ethnic groups were artificially divided by political boundaries, while other groups wanting separation were forced together into one political unit.
No other continent is affected more by artificial, or fake, states than Africa. Most African borders were created during colonization with few changes made after de-colonization. The consequences from these divisions are substantial. A recent study, Artificial States, by Alberto Alesina, William Easterly and Janina Matuszeski, documents these consequences stating, “eighty percent of African borders follow latitudinal and longitudinal lines, and many scholars believe that such artificial (unnatural) borders, which create ethnically fragmented countries…are at the root of Africa’s economic tragedy.” The authors illustrate that higher ethnic group separation and more artificially drawn boundaries significantly lowers the level of a county’s income.