Francis Fukuyama, fully Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama

Francis
Fukuyama, fully Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama
1952

American Political Scientist, Political Economist and Author

Author Quotes

But on Hegel, his idealist predecessor who was the first philosopher to answer Kant's challenge of writing a Universal History. For Hegel's understanding of the Mechanism that underlies the historical process is incomparably deeper than that of Marx or of any contemporary social scientist. For Hegel, the primary motor of human history is not modern natural science or the ever expanding horizon of desire that powers it, but rather a totally non-economic drive, the struggle for recognition. Hegel's Universal History complements the Mechanism we have just outlined, but gives us a broader understanding of man?man as man? that allows us to understand the discontinuities, the wars and sudden eruptions of irrationality out of the calm of economic development, that have characterized actual human history.

Finally, the desire for recognition ensures that politics will never be reducible to simple economic self-interest. Human beings make constant judgments about the intrinsic value, worth, or dignity of other people or institutions, and they organize themselves into hierarchies based on those valuations. Political power ultimately rests upon recognition?the degree to which a leader or institution is regarded as legitimate and can command the respect of a group of followers. People may follow out of self-interest, but the most powerful political organizations are those that legitimate themselves on the basis of a broader idea.

Highly corrupt governments usually have big problems in delivering services, enforcing laws, and representing the public interest.

I'm basically an optimist because I do think there's this historical modernization process, and by and large it's been very beneficial to people. But there are blips. History doesn't proceed in a linear way.

Indeed, the kinds of minimal or no-government societies envisioned by dreamers of the Left and Right are not fantasies; they actually exist in the contemporary developing world. Many parts of sub-Saharan Africa are a libertarian?s paradise. The region as a whole is a low-tax utopia, with governments often unable to collect more than about 10 percent of GDP in taxes, compared to more than 30 percent in the United States and 50 percent in parts of Europe. Rather than unleashing entrepreneurship, this low rate of taxation means that basic public services like health, education, and pothole filling are starved of funding. The physical infrastructure on which a modern economy rests, like roads, court systems, and police, are missing. In Somalia, where a strong central government has not existed since the late 1980s, ordinary individuals may own not just assault rifles but also rocket-propelled grenades, antiaircraft missiles, and tanks. People are free to protect their own families.

Many people, observing religious conflict in the contemporary world, have become hostile to religion as such and regard it as a source of violence and intolerance. In a world of overlapping and plural religious environments, this can clearly be the case. But they fail to put religion in its broader historical context, where it was a critical factor in permitting broad social cooperation that transcended kin and friends as a source of social relationships. Moreover, secular ideologies like Marxism-Leninism or nationalism that have displaced religious beliefs in many contemporary societies can be and have been no less destructive due to the passionate beliefs that they engender.

Nonetheless, the lower intensity of interstate war in Latin America did lead to some familiar outcomes. There was much less competitive pressure to consolidate strong national bureaucracies along French-Prussian lines prior to the arrival of mass political participation in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This meant that when the franchise was opened up in the early twentieth century, there was no absolutist coalition in place to protect the autonomy of national bureaucracies. The spread of democratic political competition created huge incentives in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and other countries for democratic politicians to use clientelistic methods to recruit voters, and consequently to turn public administration into a piggy bank for political appointments. With the partial exceptions of Chile and Uruguay, countries in Latin America followed the paths of Greece and southern Italy and transformed nineteenth-century patronage politics into full-blown twentieth-century clientelism.

Slavery and serfdom, while not unknown in tribal societies, expand enormously under the aegis of states.

The desire for economic prosperity is itself not culturally determined but almost universally shared.

A great deal more is known than has been proved.

As a result of their own experience in a country with historical social mobility, American policy makers are often blind to deeply embedded social stratifications that characterize other societies. The only successful political revolution in the western hemisphere that also resulted in a social revolution was that of Fidel Castro?s Cuba in 1959, a revolution that the United States spent the next fifty-plus years trying to contain or reverse.

But the late seventeenth century does provide an important model of how patrimonialism can be reversed that has some relevance to present-day anticorruption efforts. All of the elements that came together to produce the late Stuart reforms are still critical: an external environment that puts fiscal pressure on the government to improve its performance; a chief executive who, if not personally leading the reform effort, is at least not blocking it; reform champions within the government who have sufficient political support to carry out their program; and finally, strong political pressure from below on the part of those who are paying taxes to the government and don?t want to see their money wasted.

Fixing the Middle East is only part of the problem. It is a West European problem, too.

How the new Chinese middle class behaves in the coming years will be the most important test of the universality of liberal democracy. If it continues to grow in absolute and relative size, and yet remains content to live under the benevolent tutelage of a single-party dictatorship, one would have to say that China is culturally different from other societies around the world in its support for authoritarian government. If, however, it generates demands for participation that cannot be accommodated within the existing political system, then it is simply behaving in a manner similar to middle classes in other parts of the world. The real test of the legitimacy of the Chinese system will come not when the economy is expanding and jobs are abundant but when growth slows and the system faces crisis, as it inevitably will.

Imagination is a very scarce resource, and also a highly imperfect one, because thinking about things that have not happened is inherently more difficult than thinking about things that have.

Interest groups exercise influence way out of proportion to their place in society, distort both taxes and spending, and raise overall deficit levels through their ability to manipulate the budget in their favor. They also undermine the quality of public administration as a result of the multiple and often contradictory mandates they induce Congress to support. All of this has led to a crisis of representation, in which ordinary people feel their supposedly democratic government no longer truly reflects their interests but is under the control of a variety of shadowy elites. What is ironic and peculiar is that this crisis in representativeness has occurred in part because of reforms designed to make the system more democratic.

Marx?s original definition of bourgeoisie referred to ownership of the means of production. One of the characteristics of the modern world is that this form of property has become vastly democratized through stock ownership and pension plans. Even if one does not possess large amounts of capital, working in a managerial capacity or profession often grants one a very different kind of social status and outlook from a wage earner or low-skilled worker.

Not a democracy able to play only on the basis of the division of the state to national and smaller units. It does not necessarily become more effective the more times the community complex and diverse in its composition, but it is to fail while beyond the diversity certain limit.

So why did strong, modern states not emerge in Latin America as they did in Europe? If there is a single factor that explains this outcome, it is the relative absence of interstate war in the New World. We have seen how central war and preparation for war were in the creation of modern states in China, Prussia, and France. Even in the United States, state building has been driven by national security concerns throughout the twentieth century. Though Europe has been remarkably peaceful since 1945, the prior centuries were characterized by high and endemic levels of interstate violence. Over the past two centuries, the major political acts that reconfigured the map of Europe?the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, and the wars of unification of Italy and Germany?all involved high levels of violence, culminating in the two world wars of the twentieth century. There has been plenty of violence in Latin America, of course: today the region is infested with drug cartels, street gangs, and a few remaining guerrilla groups, all of which inflict enormous sufferings on local populations. But in comparison with Europe, Latin America has been a peaceful place in terms of interstate war. This has been a blessing for the region, but it has also left a problematic institutional legacy.

The displacement of class politics by identity politics has been very confusing to older Marxists, who for many years clung to the old industrial working class as their preferred category of the underprivileged. They tried to explain this shift in terms of what Ernest Gellner labeled the Wrong Address Theory: Just as extreme Shi?ite Muslims hold that Archangel Gabriel made a mistake, delivering the Message to Mohamed when it was intended for Ali, so Marxists basically like to think that the spirit of history or human consciousness made a terrible boob. The awakening message was intended for classes, but by some terrible postal error was delivered to nations.

A high degree of autonomy is what permits innovation, experimentation and risk taking in a bureaucracy. If the slightest mistake can end a career, then no one will ever take risks.

As Sunil Khilnani demonstrates in The Idea of India, the notion of India as a nation-state was something that was invented under British rule.4 Prior to Britain?s arrival, the subcontinent was a hodgepodge of princely states, languages, ethnic groups, and religions, with the Mogul Empire?s writ limited only to parts of northern India. Under the British, India got a sense of itself as a single, unified political space (even if that space was carved into Muslim and Hindu areas at Partition) and acquired a common language, a civil service and bureaucratic tradition, an army, and other institutions that would be critical to the emergence of a democratic India in 1947.

But we forget that government was also created to act and make decisions.

For capitalism flourishes best in a mobile and egalitarian society

However, the communications technology in itself has value neutral. Ideas of Ayatollah Khomeini 's reactionary crept into Iran before the 1978 revolution by recording devices , which provided large - scale modernization of the economy during the reign of the Shah.

Author Picture
First Name
Francis
Last Name
Fukuyama, fully Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama
Birth Date
1952
Bio

American Political Scientist, Political Economist and Author