Francis Fukuyama, fully Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama

Fukuyama, fully Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama

American Political Scientist, Political Economist and Author

Author Quotes

The low-trust, family-oriented societies with weak intermediate organizations we have observed have all been characterized by a similar saddle-shaped distribution of enterprises. Taiwan, Hong Kong, Italy, and France have a host of smaller private firms that constitute the entrepreneurial core of their economies and a small number of very large, state-owned firms at the other end of the scale. In such societies, the state plays an important role in promoting large-scale enterprises that might not be spontaneously created by the private sector, albeit at some cost in efficiency. We might postulate then that as a general rule, any society with weak intermediate institutions and low trust outside the family will tend to have a similar distribution of firms in its economy. The Republic of Korea, however, presents an apparent anomaly that needs to be explained in order to preserve the validity of the larger argument. Korea is similar to Japan, Germany, and the United States insofar as it has very large corporations and a highly concentrated industrial structure. On the other hand, Korea is much closer to China than to Japan in terms of family structure. Families occupy a similarly important place in Korea as in China, and there are no Japanese-style mechanisms in Korean culture for bringing outsiders into family groups. Following the Chinese pattern, this should lead to small family businesses and difficulties in institutionalizing the corporate form of organization. The answer to this apparent paradox is the role of the Korean state, which deliberately promoted gigantic conglomerates as a development strategy in the 1960s and 1970s and overcame what would otherwise have been a cultural proclivity for the small- and medium-size enterprises typical of Taiwan. While the Koreans succeeded in creating large companies and zaibatsu in the manner of Japan, they have nonetheless encountered many Chinese-style difficulties in the nature of corporate governance, from management succession to relations on the shop floor. The Korean case shows, however, how a resolute and competent state can shape industrial structure and

The rule of law constitutes a basic protection of individuals against tyrannical government. But in the second half of the twentieth century, law lost its focus as a constraint on government and became instead an instrument for widening the scope of government.

There were other important reasons for the growth of American individualism at the expense of community in the second half of the twentieth century besides the nature of capitalism. The first arose as an unintended consequence of a number of liberal reforms of the 1960s and 1970s. Slum clearance uprooted and destroyed many of the social networks that existed in poor neighborhoods, replacing them with an anonymous and increasingly dangerous existence in high-rise public housing units. Good government drives eliminated the political machines that at one time governed most large American cities. The old, ethnically based machines were often highly corrupt, but they served as a source of local empowerment and community for their clients. In subsequent years, the most important political action would take place not in the local community but at higher and higher levels of state and federal government. A second factor had to do with the expansion of the welfare state from the New Deal on, which tended to make federal, state, and local governments responsible for many social welfare functions that had previously been under the purview of civil society. The original argument for the expansion of state responsibilities to include social security, welfare, unemployment insurance, training, and the like was that the organic communities of preindustrial society that had previously provided these services were no longer capable of doing so as a result of industrialization, urbanization, decline of extended families, and related phenomena. But it proved to be the case that the growth of the welfare state accelerated the decline of those very communal institutions that it was designed to supplement. Welfare dependency in the United States is only the most prominent example: Aid to Families with Dependent Children, the depression-era legislation that was designed to help widows and single mothers over the transition as they reestablished their lives and families became the mechanism that permitted entire inner-city populations to raise children without the benefit of fathers. The rise of the welfare state cannot be more than a partial explanation for the decline of community, however. Many European societies have much more extensive welfare states than the United States; while nuclear families have broken down there as well, there is a much lower level of extreme social pathology. A more serious threat to community has come, it would seem, from the vast expansion in the number and scope of rights to which Americans believe they are entitled, and the rights culture this produces. Rights-based individualism is deeply embedded in American political theory and constitutional law. One might argue, in fact, that the fundamental tendency of American institutions is to promote an ever-increasing degree of individualism. We have seen repeatedly that communities tend to be intolerant of outsiders in proportion to their internal cohesiveness, because the very strength of the principles that bind members together exclude those that do not share them. Many of the strong communal structures in the United States at midcentury discriminated in a variety of ways: country clubs that served as networking sites for business executives did not allow Jews, blacks, or women to join; church-run schools that taught strong moral values did not permit children of other denominations to enroll; charitable organizations provided services for only certain groups of people and tried to impose intrusive rules of behavior on their clients. The exclusiveness of these communities conflicted with the principle of equal rights, and the state increasingly took the side of those excluded against these communal organizations.

War is the wrong metaphor for the broader struggle, since wars are fought at full intensity and have clear beginnings and endings. Meeting the jihadist challenge is more of a "long, twilight struggle" whose core is not a military campaign but a political contest for the hearts and minds of ordinary Muslims around the world.

When we step back from contemporary American debates over family values, we find that the family paradoxically does not always play a positive role in promoting economic growth. The earlier social theorists who saw the strong family as an obstacle to economic development were not entirely wrong. In some cultures, such as in those of China and certain regions of Italy, the family looms much larger than other forms of association. This fact has a striking impact on industrial life. As the extraordinarily rapid development of many Chinese economies and of Italy in recent years indicates, familism in itself is a barrier to neither industrialization nor rapid growth if other cultural values are right. But familism does affect the character of that growth?the types of economic organizations that are possible, as well as the sectors of the global economy in which that society will operate. Familistic societies have greater difficulties creating large economic institutions, and this constraint on size limits the sectors of the global economy in which such businesses can operate.

The main problem facing immigrant communities was to change the sort of sociability they practiced from an ascriptive to a voluntary form. That is, the traditional social structures they brought with them were based on family, ethnicity, geographic origin, or some other characteristic with which they were born. For the first generation that landed in the United States, they created the trust necessary for revolving credit associations, family restaurants, laundries, and grocery stores. But in subsequent generations they could become a constraint, narrowing the range of business opportunities and keeping descendants in ethnic ghettoes. For the most successful ethnic groups, the sons and daughters of first-generation immigrants had to learn a broader kind of sociability that would get them jobs in the mainstream business world or in the professions. The speed with which immigrants could make the transition from a member of an ethnic enclave to assimilated mainstream American explains how the United States could be both ethnically diverse and strongly disposed to community at the same time. In many other societies, the descendants of immigrants were never permitted to leave their ethnic ghetto. Although solidarity within the ethnic enclave remained high, the society as a whole was Balkanized and conflicted. Diversity can have clear benefits for a society, but is better taken in small sips than in large gulps. It is easily possible to have too diverse a society, in which people not only fail to share higher values and aspirations but even fail to speak the same language. The possibilities for spontaneous sociability then begin to flow only within the cleavage lines established by race, ethnicity, language, and the like. Assimilation through language policy and education must balance ethnicity if broader community is to be possible. The United States presents a mixed and changing picture. If we take into account factors like America?s religious culture and ethnicity, there are ample grounds for categorizing it simultaneously as both an individualistic and a group-oriented society. Those who see only the individualism are ignoring a critical part of American social history. Yet the balance has been shifting toward individualism rapidly in the last couple of decades, so it is perhaps no accident that Asians and others see it as the epitome of an individualistic society. This shift has created numerous problems for the United States, many of which will play themselves out in the economic sphere.

The rule of law is critical for economic development; without clear property rights and contract enforcement, it is difficult for businesses to break out of small circles of trust.

There were, however, countervailing forces. The independence of the Italian judiciary had been reinforced by the recruitment of a generation of idealistic lawyers in the wake of the global uprisings of 1968.

We are taking the time to consider the Hungarian case for a simple reason: to show that constitutional limits on a central government?s power do not by themselves necessarily produce political accountability. The freedom sought by the Hungarian noble class was the freedom to exploit their own peasants more thoroughly, and the absence of a strong central state allowed them to do just that. Everyone understands the Chinese form of tyranny, one perpetrated by a centralized dictatorship. But tyranny can result from decentralized oligarchic domination as well. True freedom tends to emerge in the interstices of a balance of power among a society?s elite actors, something that Hungary never succeeded in achieving.

Whether he was conscious of it or not, Deng was restoring much of the institutional legacy of traditional Chinese government. Only this time, it was the Communist Party that played the role of the emperor with his eunuch cadres supervising a vast bureaucracy.

The fact that you are not sure means that it is possible that there is another way someday.

The nation will continue to be a central pole of identification, even if more and more nations come to share common economic and political forms of organization.

The same process is unfolding in the early twenty-first century with passage of the Dodd-Frank bill regulating the financial sector: Congress delegated to the regulators the responsibility of writing many of the detailed provisions, which will inevitably be challenged in the courts. Ironically, excessive delegation and vetocracy are intertwined.

These aren't two separate problems. In many instances the responses are the same.

We can say in confidence that the twentieth century has been instilling in all of us profoundly historically pessimistic perspective.

While Koreans also are relatively group-oriented, they also have a strong individualistic streak like most Westerners. Koreans frequently joke that an individual Korean can beat an individual Japanese, but that a group of Koreans are certain to be beaten by a group of Japanese.36 The rate of employee turnover, raiding of other companies? skilled labor, and the like are all higher in Korea than in Japan. Anecdotally, there would seem to be a lower level of informal work-oriented socializing in Korea than in Japan, with employees heading home to their families at the end of the day rather than staying on to drink in the evenings with their workmates.

The failure of democracy to consolidate itself in many parts of the world may be due less to the appeal of the idea itself than to the absence of those material and social conditions that make it possible for accountable government to emerge in the first place. That is, successful liberal democracy requires both a state that is strong, unified, and able to enforce laws on its own territory, and a society that is strong and cohesive and able to impose accountability on the state. It is the balance between a strong state and a strong society that makes democracy work, not just in seventeenth-century England but in contemporary developed democracies as well.

The one curious thing - I don't know quite where he stands right now is - he really was not a neoconservative in a way, and in fact I think he's tried to deny he was a neoconservative, if you go back to all the debates of the 1990's.

The story of political development from this point in European history is the story of the interaction between these centralizing states and the social groups resisting them. Absolutist governments arose where the resisting groups were either weak and poorly organized, or else were co-opted by the state to help in extracting resources from other social groups that weren?t co-opted. Weak absolutist governments arose where the resisting groups were so strongly organized that the central government couldn?t dominate them. And accountable government arose when the state and the resisting groups were better balanced. The resisting groups were able to impose on the state the principle of no taxation without representation: they would supply it with substantial resources, but only if they had a say in how those resources were used.

These cases illustrate the way institutional arrangements can become self-reinforcing: once the principle of electoral politics is established under a limited franchise, incumbent parties can attempt to stay in power by seeking new voters, shifting to new issues, and reaching out across class lines.

We might label this the Hobbesean fallacy: the idea that human beings were primordially individualistic and that they entered into society at a later stage in their development only as a result of a rational calculation that social cooperation was the best way for them to achieve their individual ends. This premise of primordial individualism underpins the understanding of rights contained in the American Declaration of Independence and thus of the democratic political community that springs from it. This premise also underlies contemporary neoclassical economics, which builds its models on the assumption that human beings are rational beings who want to maximize their individual utility or incomes. But it is in fact individualism and not sociability that developed over the course of human history. That individualism seems today like a solid core of our economic and political behavior is only because we have developed institutions that override our more naturally communal instincts.

With justice and moderation the people will produce more, tax revenues will increase, and the state will grow rich and powerful. Justice is the foundation of a powerful state.

The failure to find adequate funds to finance deficits caused the Spanish Crown to declare bankruptcy in 1557, 1560, 1575, 1596, 1607, 1627, 1647, 1652, 1660, and 1662.14 These bankruptcies were not full debt repudiations, but more like what today would be called debt reschedulings or workouts. The Crown would declare a moratorium on the payment of interest on short-term and floating debt on the grounds that it was usurious and then enter into a prolonged and rancorous negotiation with its creditors.

The opinion that the survival of Islam itself depended on the use of military slavery was shared by the great Arab historian and philosopher Ibn Khaldun, who lived in North Africa in the fourteenth century, contemporaneously with the Mamluk sultanate in Egypt.

The sudden demise of the dinosaurs do not destabilize the validity of the special theory of biological evolution

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Fukuyama, fully Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama
Birth Date

American Political Scientist, Political Economist and Author