Constant search for a better life seems to be a salient feature characterising human existence. Alas, we do not live in hermitage, but in a complex social environment and it is the manner we are structurally organised that determines the quality of our modus vivendi. This societal matrix, i.e. the structure of governance, and primarily its conceptual model determine the quality of citizens' life within a polity. Though democratic principles of governance might not be embraced as an ideal instrument for organising social life, thus far it remains the only viable solution that has been able to accommodate legitimate demands from citizens at the state level. Therefore, we shall deem democracy here as an ideal which indicates positive correlation with good governance.
Apparently, not all units within the international system appear to be satiating their desire for a decently governed state. These are especially the countries of the Muslim world that are severely underperforming in the realms of economy, social services, internal as well as external security, and particularly the rule of law. If we are to describe under-performance in terms of governance, then it will be defined as demonstrated insufficient capacity of the state to create and maintain such constitutional order that guarantees its citizens comfortable material existence enabling to lead independent and fulfilling life. And indeed, sobering realities in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Bangladesh and other states espousing Islamic ideology make us ponder whether each of these political entities is able to satisfy public claims on self-determination, as having been epitomised by the Arab Spring most recently.
Manifestly, the Muslim countries have not established such constitutional arrangement that would lay foundations for public institutions capable of transforming their economies and public services. There are multiple instances of failure arising from bad governance on all fronts such as the historically stipulated and generally accepted concept of the "Arab social contract, the authoritarian bargain, which had offered to its population the promise of stable secure government jobs, if you had a certain type of education. That is the promise that [especially] young people are now trying to claim and that the state is no longer able to fulfil". Hence, this problem causes widespread popular disillusionment because, due to inability of state to create jobs, as Afsah emphasises, the Arab social contract is broken.
Let us now focus on specific examples in different spheres of activities that illustrate the scope of under-performance within the Muslim states. At the same time, let us set an analytical framework for performance adopting the criteria defined by the World Bank - Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law and Control of Corruption. The latest figures...