Francis Fukuyama, fully Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama

Francis
Fukuyama, fully Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama
1952

American Political Scientist, Political Economist and Author

Author Quotes

Neoclassical economics... has uncovered important truths about the nature of money and markets because its fundamental model of rational self-interested human behavior is correct about 80% of the time.

Should it happen that the community where they are born be drugged with long years of peace and quiet, many of the high-born youths voluntarily seek those tribes which are at the time engaged in some war; for rest is unwelcome to the race, and they distinguish themselves more readily in the midst of uncertainties: besides, you cannot keep up a great retinue except by war and violence ? you will not so readily persuade them to plough the land and wait for the year?s returns as to challenge the enemy and earn wounds: besides, it seems limp and slack to get with the sweating of your brow what you can gain with the shedding of your blood.

The concern over the origin of institutions dovetailed with a second preoccupation, which was the real-world problems of weak and failed states.

Anyone out there have a better idea?

But it is not necessarily the case that liberal democracy is the political system best suited to resolving social conflicts per se. A democracy's ability to peacefully resolve conflicts is greatest when those conflicts arise between socalled interest groups that share a larger, pre-existing consensus on the basic values or rules of the game, and when the conflicts are primarily economic in nature. But there are other kinds of non-economic conflicts that are far more intractable, having to do with issues like inherited social status and nationality, that democracy is not particularly good at resolving.

Finally, state capacity is a function of resources. The best-trained and most enthusiastic officials will not remain committed if they are not paid adequately, or if they find themselves lacking the tools for doing their jobs. This is one of the reasons that poor countries have poorly functioning governments. Melissa Thomas notes that while a rich country like the United States spends approximately $17,000 per year per capita on government services of all sorts, the government of Afghanistan spends only $17 when foreign donor contributions are excluded. Much of the money it does collect is wasted through corruption and fraud. It is therefore not surprising that the central Afghan government is barely sovereign throughout much of its own territory.

Hegel argues that the desire to gain recognition is that they pay any primitive in ancient times to risk their lives to enter into a fight to the death, as they both seek to gain recognition of the other Bodmith. The event led the natural fear of death one of the conflicting parties to surrender and obey, originated master - slave relationships.

I'm a tenured professor. But I'd get rid of tenure.

Indeed, the consensual nature of the EU itself has meant that EU-level institutions are far weaker than certain federal institutions in the United States. These weaknesses were made painfully evident in the European debt crisis of 2010?2013. The United States Federal Reserve, Treasury, and Congress responded quite forcefully to its financial crisis, with a massive expansion of the Federal Reserve?s balance sheet, the $700 billion TARP, a second $700 billion stimulus package in 2009, and continuing asset purchases by the Fed under successive versions of quantitative easing. Under emergency circumstances, the executive branch was able to browbeat the Congress into supporting its initiatives. The European Union, by contrast, has taken a much more hesitant and piecemeal approach to the euro crisis. Lacking a monetary authority with the same powers as the Federal Reserve, and with fiscal policy remaining the preserve of national-level governments, European policy makers have had fewer tools than their American counterparts to deal with economic shocks.

Many of these problems could be solved if the United States moved to a more unified parliamentary system of government, but so radical a change in the country?s institutional structure is inconceivable. Americans regard their Constitution as a quasi-religious document, so getting them to rethink its most basic tenets would be an uphill struggle. I think that any realistic reform program would try to trim veto points or insert parliamentary-style mechanisms to promote stronger hierarchical authority within the existing system of separated powers.

Neoconservatives believed that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will. Leninism was a tragedy in its Bolshevik version, and it has returned as farce when practiced by the United States. Neoconservatism, as both a political symbol and a body of thought, has evolved into something I can no longer support.

Should we then regret the fact that Latin America has not seen more violence over the past two centuries, either in the form of massive interstate wars or social revolutions? It goes without saying that the social revolutions that occurred in Europe and Asia were purchased at enormous cost: tens of millions of people killed in purges, executions, and military conflict, and hundreds of millions more displaced, incarcerated, starved to death, or tortured. Political violence, moreover, oftentimes begets only more political violence rather than progressive social change. We would not want to give war a chance in Latin America any more than in other parts of the world. These observations should not blind us, however, to the fact that just outcomes in the present are often the result, as Machiavelli noted, of crimes committed in the past. The Clean Slate: Exceptions to the materialist account of institutions in Latin America; why Costa Rica didn?t become a banana republic; why Argentina should have looked

The courts, instead of being constraints on government, have become alternative instruments for the expansion of government.

A free market, a vigorous civil society, the spontaneous wisdom of crowds are all important components of a working democracy, but none can ultimately replace the functions of a strong, hierarchical government. There has been a broad recognition among economists in recent years that institutions matter: poor countries are poor not because they lack resources, but because they lack effective political institutions. We need therefore to better understand where those institutions come from.

As a piece of travel literature alone, 'The Ends of the Earth' succeeds in providing a tangible sense of the sweaty, smelly reality of many exotic points on the map, with glimpses of their cruelty but also, occasionally, of beauty and human kindness. As a piece of analysis, it is deeply thought-provoking.

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.

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

American Political Scientist, Political Economist and Author