A failed state is a government that is seen as failing at some of the duties and responsibilities as a sovereign government. Although there is no set standard or definition of a “failed state” there are some points that can help politicians and military leaders identify potentially failing states.
Characteristics of a failed state:
Loss of control of its territory,
Disintegration of governing body or decision making body
Inability to provide public services
Inability to interact with other states in an international community.
More characteristics of a failing state include a central government so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory; lack of public services; widespread corruption and criminality among leaders and citizens alike; refugees and involuntary movement of populations; and sharp economic decline and depression.
There are numerous reasons as to why a state can fail, in fact each failed state has its own unique set of problems or issues that lead to the breakdown of their central government and eventual status of being known as a “Failed State”. However most Failed States have certain characteristics in common. The commonality of most failing states is a rise in civil violence such as civil war or political uprising, but also at the same time the rise of new more radical or popular political groups often funded by illegal activity.
Of course each individual state has other problems that caused it to fail, in North Korea, lack of property rights are a major reason to North Koreas failure, in Columbia and Somalia the is no central government will to step up and end illegal activity, as a result there is no law and order in these states. In other South and Central America lack of public services and poverty are the driving force as to why these state are failing.

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Work Cited
“Our Magazine Archive.” Foreign Policy. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2014.Wikipedia contributors….