Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “When Things Fell Apart: State Failure in Late-Century Africa” as Want to Read:
When Things Fell Apart: State Failure in Late-Century Africa
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

When Things Fell Apart: State Failure in Late-Century Africa

3.59  ·  Rating Details  ·  116 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
In the later decades of the 20th century, Africa plunged into political chaos. States failed, governments became predators, and citizens took up arms. In When Things Fell Apart, Robert H. Bates advances an explanation of state failure in Africa. In so doing, he not only plumbs the depths of the continent's late-century tragedy, but also the logic of political order and the ...more
Hardcover, 191 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Cambridge University Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about When Things Fell Apart, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about When Things Fell Apart

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 239)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oliver
Oct 07, 2012 Oliver rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like Collier's Greed and Grievance and Fearon and Laitin's work on conflict, Bates does his own academic weightlifting on the interplay between politics and violence, taking into account key topics like ethnicity, democracy, resource wealth and poverty and their connection to political violence. He claims to be looking at the relationship between political disorder, but that's not terribly different. While Collier focuses on world wide data, Bates focuses on a strictly African dataset. It seems ...more
Chris
Mar 26, 2010 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: development
Game theoretic exploration of the sub title: "Rather than probing the motives of rebels or the nature of their organizations, I instead ask: Why would governments adopt policies that impoverish their citizens? Why would they “overextract” wealth from their domains? Why would they alter the distribution of income so grossly that it would become politically unsustainable? By addressing such questions, I explored the ways in which incumbent regimes prepared the field for the forces of political dis ...more
Dylan Groves
Oct 26, 2013 Dylan Groves rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
exceedingly clear.

three takeaways:

1 - the core explanation of deteriorating public order in 1990's africa concerns the choice of political elites to protect wealth creation or predate, based on the perceived gains of each and elites' discount rate

2 - increased political competition may spark a decline in political order because political elites increase their discount rate when they perceive an increased likelihood of leaving office. this process is probably inevitable and worthwhile in the long
...more
Orken Sundetov
This is a very shallow analysis of the causes of state failure in Africa.
Daniel
Apr 07, 2012 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It can be argued that Bates' synthesis of his data and his proposed conclusions are too simplistic. In many ways I agree with this critique. However, I do think Bates provides helpful insight in looking at how political choices at the top have led to Africa's "failed" states, rather than focusing on the typical Marxist from below view of rebels. Bates offers helpful and thoughtful insight. A worthwhile read for anyone studying Africa.
Derrill Watson
Sep 01, 2013 Derrill Watson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm using this in my public choice class. The first two chapters set up the main principals and the others provide some reasonably supportive evidence. That later narrative jumps around a good deal, so it's hard to know where reality diverges from his theory.
SpaceBear
Didn't find this especially helpful; though it is an interesting model of how dictators hold on to power by institutionalizing instability.
Liam
Jan 03, 2011 Liam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"[T]he possibility of political order rests on the value of three variables: the level of public revenues, the reward from predation, and the specialist's [in violence] rate of discount." (20)
Andy
Apr 10, 2010 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Concise (unlike James Scott's Seeing Like a State), logical, and clear.
Nelly
Jul 19, 2010 Nelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit too technical for my liking
Emily
Emily rated it really liked it
Jul 24, 2016
Karlene
Karlene marked it as to-read
Jul 10, 2016
Liz
Liz marked it as to-read
Jul 09, 2016
John Hess
John Hess rated it really liked it
Jul 02, 2016
Daniel Porter
Daniel Porter marked it as to-read
Jun 18, 2016
James
James marked it as to-read
Jun 18, 2016
Jeffrey
Jeffrey marked it as to-read
Jun 15, 2016
Boima Tucker
Boima Tucker marked it as to-read
Jun 08, 2016
Giovonni E
Giovonni E marked it as to-read
Jun 03, 2016
Colin
Colin rated it really liked it
May 31, 2016
Sarah
Sarah marked it as to-read
May 14, 2016
Payal
Payal marked it as to-read
Apr 20, 2016
Apurav Yash Bhatiya
Apurav Yash Bhatiya rated it liked it
Apr 27, 2016
Barbara
Barbara marked it as to-read
Feb 18, 2016
Ownbymom Ownby
Ownbymom Ownby marked it as to-read
Feb 15, 2016
Sharn
Sharn marked it as to-read
Feb 05, 2016
Thiago Marzagão
Thiago Marzagão rated it it was amazing
Feb 03, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control
  • Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror
  • Africa Doesn't Matter: How the West Has Failed the Poorest Continent and What We Can Do about It
  • Coercion, Capital, and European States: AD 990 - 1992
  • Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy
  • The Order Of Genocide: Race, Power, And War In Rwanda
  • Shadows of War: Violence, Power, and International Profiteering in the Twenty-First Century
  • Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences (Bcsia Studies in International Security) (Belfer Center Studies in International Security)
  • Famine Crimes: Politics and the Disaster Relief Industry in Africa
  • Africa Rising: How 900 Million African Consumers Offer More Than You Think
  • The Making of a Tropical Disease: A Short History of Malaria
  • Inequality Reexamined
  • Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda
  • Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places
  • Conspiracy to Murder: The Rwanda Genocide and the International Community
  • The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide
  • Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World
  • Political Order in Changing Societies

Share This Book