Thomas Carothers’ “The ‘Sequencing Fallacy” is largely correct in its criticisms of the argument that democratic reforms ought to be delayed until after a liberal rule of law and economic growth have been achieved. However, Carothers does not take sufficiently into account the need to create a coherent nation as the beginning point of the state-building process, something that usually requires changing borders or moving populations and has seldom in human history been accomplished without violence. The norm prohibiting such changes in Africa has in effect prohibited the sequencing of state-building and both rule of law and democracy there, contributing in some measure to state weakness.
Exchange: Liberalism versus State-Building
Issue Date July 2007
Page Numbers 10-13