Virtually all human societies were once organized tribally, yet over time most developed new political institutions which included a central state that could keep the peace and uniform laws that applied to all citizens. Some went on to create governments that were accountable to their constituents. We take these institutions for granted, but they are absent or are unable to perform in many of today's developing countries—with often disastrous consequences for the rest of the world.
Francis Fukuyama, author of the bestselling The End of History and the Last Man and one of our most important political thinkers, provides a sweeping account of how today's basic political institutions developed. The first of a major two-volume work, The Origins of Political Order begins with politics among our primate ancestors and follows the story through the emergence of tribal societies, the growth of the first modern state in China, the beginning of the rule of law in India and the Middle East, and the development of political accountability in Europe up until the eve of the French Revolution.
Drawing on a vast body of knowledge—history, evolutionary biology, archaeology, and economics—Fukuyama has produced a brilliant, provocative work that offers fresh insights on the origins of democratic societies and raises essential questions about the nature of politics and its discontents.
Writing in The Wall Street Journal, David Gress called Francis Fukuyama's Origins of Political Order "magisterial in its learning and admirably immodest in its ambition." In The New York Times Book Review, Michael Lind described the book as "a major achievement by one of the leading public intellectuals of our time." And in The Washington Post, Gerard DeGrott exclaimed "this is a book that will be remembered. Bring on volume two."
Volume two is finally here, completing the most important work of political thought in at least a generation. Taking up the essential question of how societies develop strong, impersonal, and accountable political institutions, Fukuyama follows the story from the French Revolution to the so-called Arab Spring and the deep dysfunctions of contemporary American politics. He examines the effects of corruption on governance, and why some societies have been successful at rooting it out. He explores the different legacies of colonialism in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and offers a clear-eyed account of why some regions have thrived and developed more quickly than others. And he boldly reckons with the future of democracy in the face of a rising global middle class and entrenched political paralysis in the West.
A sweeping, masterful account of the struggle to create a well-functioning modern state, Political Order and Political Decay is destined to be a classic.
In 2014, Francis Fukuyama wrote that American institutions were in decay, as the state was progressively captured by powerful interest groups. Two years later, his predictions were borne out by the rise to power of a series of political outsiders whose economic nationalism and authoritarian tendencies threatened to destabilize the entire international order. These populist nationalists seek direct charismatic connection to “the people,” who are usually defined in narrow identity terms that offer an irresistible call to an in-group and exclude large parts of the population as a whole.
Demand for recognition of one’s identity is a master concept that unifies much of what is going on in world politics today. The universal recognition on which liberal democracy is based has been increasingly challenged by narrower forms of recognition based on nation, religion, sect, race, ethnicity, or gender, which have resulted in anti-immigrant populism, the upsurge of politicized Islam, the fractious “identity liberalism” of college campuses, and the emergence of white nationalism. Populist nationalism, said to be rooted in economic motivation, actually springs from the demand for recognition and therefore cannot simply be satisfied by economic means. The demand for identity cannot be transcended; we must begin to shape identity in a way that supports rather than undermines democracy.
Identity is an urgent and necessary book—a sharp warning that unless we forge a universal understanding of human dignity, we will doom ourselves to continuing conflict.
The formation of proper public institutions, such as an honest police force, uncorrupted courts, functioning schools and medical services and a strong civil service, is fraught with difficulties. We know how to help with resources, people and technology across borders, but state building requires methods that are not easily transported. The ability to create healthy states from nothing has suddenly risen to the top of the world agenda. State building has become a crucial matter of global security. In this hugely important book, Francis Fukuyama explains the concept of state-building and discusses the problems and causes of state weakness and its national and international effects.
The contributors dissect mistakes, false starts, and lessons learned from the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq within the broader context of reconstruction efforts in other parts of the world, including Latin America, Japan, and the Balkans. Examining the contrasting models in Afghanistan and Iraq, they highlight the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq as a cautionary example of inadequate planning.
The need for post-conflict reconstruction will not cease with the end of the Afghanistan and Iraq missions. This timely volume offers the critical reflection and evaluation necessary to avoid repeating costly mistakes in the future.
Contributors: Larry Diamond, Hoover Institution and Stanford University; James Dobbins, RAND; David Ekbladh, American University; Michèle A. Flournoy, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Francis Fukuyama, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; Larry P. Goodson, U.S. Army War College; Johanna Mendelson Forman, UN Foundation; Minxin Pei, Samia Amin, and Seth Garz, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; S. Frederick Starr, Central Asia–Caucacus Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies; F. X. Sutton, Ford Foundation Emeritus; Marvin G. Weinbaum, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
To re-orient contemporary debate, Fukuyama underlines man's changing understanding of human nature through history: from Plato and Aristotle's belief that man had "natural ends," to the ideals of utopians and dictators of the modern age who sought to remake mankind for ideological ends. Fukuyama persuasively argues that the ultimate prize of the biotechnology revolution-intervention in the "germ-line," the ability to manipulate the DNA of all of one person's descendents-will have profound, and potentially terrible, consequences for our political order, even if undertaken by ordinary parents seeking to "improve" their children.
In Our Posthuman Future, our greatest social philosopher begins to describe the potential effects of exploration on the foundation of liberal democracy: the belief that human beings are equal by nature.
In addressing this issue, the contributors contemplate three central questions: What effect has the crisis had on current ideas in development thinking? How has it affected and how will it affect economic policy and political realities in Latin America and Asia, including China and India? Will the financial collapse reinforce shifts in geopolitical power and influence, and in what form? Essays answering these questions identify themes that are essential as economic and political leaders address future challenges of development.
To help move beyond this time of global economic turmoil, the contributors—the foremost minds in the field of international development—offer innovative ideas about stabilizing the international economy and promoting global development strategies.
Contributors: Nancy Birdsall, Center for Global Development; Michael Clemens, Center for Global Development; Kemal Derviş, Brookings Institution; Larry Diamond, Stanford University; Francis Fukuyama, Stanford University; Peter S. Heller, Johns Hopkins University; Yasheng Huang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Justin Yifu Lin, World Bank; José Antonio Ocampo, Columbia University; Mitchell A. Orenstein, Johns Hopkins University; Minxin Pei, Claremont McKenna College; Lant Pritchett, Harvard University; Liliana Rojas-Suarez, Center for Global Development; Arvid Subramanian, Johns Hopkins University
En algún momento a mediados de la segunda década del siglo XXI, la política mundial cambió drásticamente. Desde entonces, ha estado guiada por demandas de carácter identitario. Las ideas de nación, religión, raza, género, etnia y clase han sustituido a una noción más amplia e inclusiva de quiénes somos: simples ciudadanos. Hemos construido muros en lugar de puentes. Y el resultado es un creciente sentimiento antiinmigratorio, además de agrias discusiones sobre víctimas y victimarios y el retorno de políticas abiertamente supremacistas y chovinistas.
En Estados Unidos, el declive de las instituciones ha facilitado el auge de una serie de aventureros políticos cuyo nacionalismo económico y tendencias autoritarias amenazan con desestabilizar el orden internacional. Pero también en Europa están surgiendo nacionalismos populistas que buscan una conexión directa y carismática con «el pueblo», que a menudo se defi ne con unos términos identitarios restringidos que dejan fuera a gran parte de la ciudadanía.
Francis Fukuyama, uno de los pensadores políticos más importantes de las últimas décadas, hace un alegato urgente y necesario en defensa de la recuperación de la política en su sentido más elevado y generoso. Un ensayo compacto y combativo sobre la importancia de conformar una idea de identidad que profundice en la democracia en lugar de destruirla.