The Art of Seeing Like a State: State-Building in Afghanistan, the Congo, and Beyond

29 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2011

See all articles by Christopher J. Coyne

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Adam Pellillo

La Salle University

Date Written: March 27, 2011

Abstract

This paper considers the implications of James Scott’s Seeing Like a State (1998) and The Art of Not Being Governed (2009) for state-building efforts in Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In Seeing Like a State, Scott warns of the problems associated with top-down planning efforts to improve the human condition. In The Art of Not Being Governed, Scott discusses the 'art' of state avoidance and self-governance. These works have important insights for contemporary state-building processes and we explore some of the applications in the context of Afghanistan and the DRC. We conclude with a discussion of the implications for current and future state-building efforts.

Suggested Citation

Coyne, Christopher J. and Pellillo, Adam, The Art of Seeing Like a State: State-Building in Afghanistan, the Congo, and Beyond (March 27, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1797243 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1797243

Christopher J. Coyne (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.ccoyne.com/

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://ppe.mercatus.org/scholars/christopher-coyne

Adam Pellillo

La Salle University

United States

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