Living in hell

So much for rose-tinted glasses

Foreign Policy recently ran a photo essay with images from countries that scored the worst on their Failed States Index. The title? “Postcards from Hell.”

But as the photos here demonstrate, sometimes the best test is the simplest one: You’ll only know a failed state when you see it.

Really? Isn’t selection an issue here? If I went to the projects of Baltimore to take some photos, Maryland would start looking like a failed state pretty quickly.

The Failed States Index, a creation of both Foreign Policy and The Fund For Peace, uses a range of indicators, some more reasonable than others. The ranking of failed states is based on an amalgamation of these indicators, which means that some states get a similar ranking, despite being “failed” for drastically different reasons. This is why war-torn, refugee-laden Sierra Leone is tied with extremely-peaceful but desperately poor Malawi.

Sean Jacobs also weighs in.