How we measure self-reliance


The first step in building a country’s self-reliance is seeing the situation as it actually is.

Consider three different imaginary countries: Enlightenedstan, Developingstan, and Failingstan.

  1. Enlightenedstan ranks high on every international marker of a healthy, happy, wealthy, and organized country: strong institutions, respect for minority populations, high human development index rankings, a robust civil society, a healthy physical environment, access to financial and natural capital, a strong sense of identity, a vibrant culture, and an innovative scientific and technological ecosystem.

  2. Developingstan has weak but functional institutions and is approaching international standards of human rights, infrastructure, technology, and development. Its society and culture are continually adjusting and reforming in response to the disruptions of globalization and development. Its economy is emerging, with inconsistent contract enforcement. 

  3. Failingstan is unstable, increasingly urban, mostly poor, and with a small, wealthy elite. The society governs itself through families, villages, and tribes. The national government is weak, overwhelmed, and corrupted by outside money and influence, with a relationship toward its citizens that is partly benevolent and partly predatory. The economy is mostly informal.

The charts below show the ranked top 20 actors for these 3 countries while also showing each actor’s motivation toward the self-governance and inclusivity for the country.

In  Enlightenedstan , almost all of its prime actors are from the country itself. The most influential actors are also the ones who want to help the country the most (builders).

In Enlightenedstan, almost all of its prime actors are from the country itself.
The most influential actors are also the ones who want to help the country the most (builders).

In  Developingstan , almost half of its prime actors are from the country itself. The most influential actors differ radically in their motivation toward the country.

In Developingstan, almost half of its prime actors are from the country itself.
The most influential actors differ radically in their motivation toward the country.

In  Failingstan , only a few of its prime actors are from the country itself. The most influential actors are also the ones who want to help the country the least (saboteurs).

In Failingstan, only a few of its prime actors are from the country itself.
The most influential actors are also the ones who want to help the country the least (saboteurs).

As shown in these pie charts, the greater the presence and influence international actors (gray) the less self-reliant the country.

As shown in these pie charts, the greater the presence and influence international actors (gray) the less self-reliant the country.

The Sovereignty Accelerator measures the degree of a country’s self-reliance through its prime actors.
In confidential interviews, the country’s prime actors assess each other’s influence and motivation.


Influence. As emphasized in the pie charts above, there is a relationship between domestic and foreign prime actors, and national self-reliance: 

  1. Of the 20 top prime actors in Enlightenedstan, 19 are from Enlightenedstan.

  2. Of the 20 top prime actors in Developingstan, 13 are from Developingstan.

  3. Of the 20 top prime actors in Failingstan, 4 are from Failingstan.


The difference in self-reliance between the three countries increases when we also look at motivation. In anonymous interviews, prime actors put each other into one of five categories according to their orientation toward more self-governance and inclusivity for the country.

  1. Builders increase the self-governance and inclusivity of the country.

  2. Helpers help the country, but not as their priority.

  3. Followers follow power and money, helping the country when they see doing so as in their own best interest.

  4. Avoiders are disengaged from the political, economic, social, and cultural life of the country.

  5. Saboteurs actively weaken the self-governance and lessen the inclusivity of the country.

 
Motivation. For each country, notice how many of the prime actors are builders or helpers.   

  1. Of the 20 top prime actors in Enlightenedstan, 13 are builders or helpers.

  2. Of the 20 top prime actors in Developingstan, 9 are builders or helpers.

  3. Of the 20 top prime actors in Failingstan, 4 are builders or helpers.

For national projects and investments, and the contracts and other agreements necessary for their success, you can conclude:

  1. Enlightenedstan is likely transparent and predictable.

  2. Developingstan is likely opaque. National projects and investments require sponsorship by one or more very influential prime actors, or by engaging in the country’s hidden mechanisms of contract and agreement enforcement.

  3. Failingstan is likely opaque. National projects and investments require engagement in the country’s hidden mechanisms of contract and agreement enforcement.