"ie does not hold the legitimate means of coercion."??? Seems like a weak definition.
I would tend to think the two main signs of a failed state would be 1) lack of ability to enforce laws within the borders and/or 2) lack of ability to defend borders. Of course these both then beg the question of matter of degree. ħuman 15:57, 25 September 2008 (EDT)
- The usual definition of a state is that it holds the "monopoly on the legitimate means of coercion", in other words, the two things you cited. It has the ability to push back invaders and punish people for breaking laws, and (importantly) it is seen as legitimate in doing so. A very weak state may lack the ability to punish criminals, but it is considered the only one appropriate to do so. Researcher 20:58, 29 September 2008 (EDT)