Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

The End of History and the Last Man

Availability: Ready to download

Ever since its first publication in 1992, The End of History and the Last Man has provoked controversy and debate. Francis Fukuyama's prescient analysis of religious fundamentalism, politics, scientific progress, ethical codes, and war is as essential for a world fighting fundamentalist terrorists as it was for the end of the Cold War. Now updated with a new afterword, The Ever since its first publication in 1992, The End of History and the Last Man has provoked controversy and debate. Francis Fukuyama's prescient analysis of religious fundamentalism, politics, scientific progress, ethical codes, and war is as essential for a world fighting fundamentalist terrorists as it was for the end of the Cold War. Now updated with a new afterword, The End of History and the Last Man is a modern classic.


Compare
Ads Banner

Ever since its first publication in 1992, The End of History and the Last Man has provoked controversy and debate. Francis Fukuyama's prescient analysis of religious fundamentalism, politics, scientific progress, ethical codes, and war is as essential for a world fighting fundamentalist terrorists as it was for the end of the Cold War. Now updated with a new afterword, The Ever since its first publication in 1992, The End of History and the Last Man has provoked controversy and debate. Francis Fukuyama's prescient analysis of religious fundamentalism, politics, scientific progress, ethical codes, and war is as essential for a world fighting fundamentalist terrorists as it was for the end of the Cold War. Now updated with a new afterword, The End of History and the Last Man is a modern classic.

30 review for The End of History and the Last Man

  1. 5 out of 5

    Hadrian

    Fukuyama has been an ideological whipping boy since 2001 for his supposed remarks on the 'end of history' being interpreted as triumphal praise for the United States for winning the cold war. Much of this criticism is largely misplaced. He does start off with the bold assertion that liberal-capitalist-democracy is the end point of history, but uses the rest of his chapters to back off from this assertion into a more tepid series of observations. He does not support liberal-capitalist-democracy f Fukuyama has been an ideological whipping boy since 2001 for his supposed remarks on the 'end of history' being interpreted as triumphal praise for the United States for winning the cold war. Much of this criticism is largely misplaced. He does start off with the bold assertion that liberal-capitalist-democracy is the end point of history, but uses the rest of his chapters to back off from this assertion into a more tepid series of observations. He does not support liberal-capitalist-democracy from a moral grounding, but instead notes its ability to survive and continue to reproduce itself after repeated economic crises, and its ability to outlast other alternatives from the far-right (fascism), and the far-left (communism). Its status as part of the end of history is taken from Hegel, interpreted by Kojeve and a bit of Kant. Fukuyama draws on these to say that the overall 'meaning' of history itself, or at least the general trend of it, leads to the continued spread of liberal-capitalist-democracy, and its percieved effectiveness in allowing the individual to act and express according to their own personal liberties in a universal, if homogeneous, state. Despite this, it is still easy to pick apart his argument. The greatest possible drawback is that the historical conditions which led to the spread of liberal-capitalist-democracy might not necessarily continue into the 21st century and beyond. A chief example among these is the economic catastrophe of 2007, and how many have perceived this international system has being unable to meet the needs of its citizens. Others might point to the resurgence of radical political ideologies from both the left and right. I won't speak too much on either of these in the United States, but instead the more credible threat might be the internal dissolution of the middle class due to the economic crisis, as well as a flawed emphasis in policy - focusing instead only on aiding financial capital, and cutting social services to the middle and lower classes is an incomplete method of addressing recovery. Others might point to an 'endpoint of history' like that of the Russian or Chinese models. I can't speak about Russia that well, but there are multiple domestic issues in the Chinese social and economic system which are a major impedance to any path as a 'global superpower' on par with the US. Still the biggest contention of the book is imposing a study of teleology onto history. That is, whether human history has any grand trends or purposes behind it. That question is a bit harder to answer, on the grounds that any correct prediction beyond an extrapolation of trends in the short scale and under limited circumstances is exceptionally difficult to accomplish. I might offer as a mere suggestion instead that the only constant in human history is chaos. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Szplug

    Fukuyama has been much ridiculed since the publication of this book, and the piling-on only increased in intensity after the towering cataclysm of September 11th seemed to herald the exact opposite of what Fukuyama allegedly proclaimed. I say allegedly because Fukuyama himself backed away from the logical implications of his own theory long before the final page—in a review of Trust, another Goodreads member accused Fukuyama of incessant hedging, an imputation with which I concur. This is the wa Fukuyama has been much ridiculed since the publication of this book, and the piling-on only increased in intensity after the towering cataclysm of September 11th seemed to herald the exact opposite of what Fukuyama allegedly proclaimed. I say allegedly because Fukuyama himself backed away from the logical implications of his own theory long before the final page—in a review of Trust, another Goodreads member accused Fukuyama of incessant hedging, an imputation with which I concur. This is the way the terminal point history thesis ends—not with a bang but a whimper. Having seesawed on his positions, the closing arguments stamped everything with a silky question mark—and the Hegelian End of History and its enervated reflectional constituent, the Nietzschean Last Man, still remained entirely open to debate. Nevertheless, I mostly enjoyed what Fukuyama presented, which was his own interpretation of Hegel's Historical Dialectic as filtered through the mental sponge of Kojève, countered by the bristly Teutonic Stache, and with dabs of the Strauss-Bloom axis and a pinch of Marx for philosophical seasoning. For all the lack of resolution in firmly averring an End of History playing out via dominant liberal democracy—one wherein individuals achieved the self-recognition and selfhood striven for through evolving ages of hierarchical identification—the knowledge disseminated on all of the above thinkers, philosophers, and theorists, along with Fukuyama's own perspectival contributions, was thought provoking and illuminating and, ultimately, sobering—anytime we are within an arched brow of a doctrinally-conceived endpoint for humanity, it's best to lock-up the silverware. The End of History and the Last Man has been both fairly and unfairly attacked, but the implications of Hegel's creation and Nietzsche's homuncular response are fascinating and IMO well worth examining—in this case, through an American Neoconservative lens that attempts an impartiality in its careful, expository focus.

  3. 5 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    Intelligently written history book that is included in the 501 Must-Read Books. Published in 1992 and based in the authors earlier essay, The End of History, this book says that since the end of Cold War in 1989, history also ceases because there is no balance of power and so liberal democracy will prevail unopposed. The essay came out of course after 9/11 when the landscape of the world was changed especially because of the economic crisis that followed the attack. Fukuyama expounds on the earli Intelligently written history book that is included in the 501 Must-Read Books. Published in 1992 and based in the authors earlier essay, The End of History, this book says that since the end of Cold War in 1989, history also ceases because there is no balance of power and so liberal democracy will prevail unopposed. The essay came out of course after 9/11 when the landscape of the world was changed especially because of the economic crisis that followed the attack. Fukuyama expounds on the earlier works of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), a German philosopher and a major figure on German idealism. He heavily influence the philosophy of Alexandre Kojeve (1902-1968) particularly the integration of Hegelian concepts (e.g., "the rational alone is real") into continental philosophy. Kojeve was instrumental in the creation of European Union (Source: Wikipedia). It is nice to read essays about what's happening in the real world especially through the lens of historians, philosophers, economists, etc. It's just that the prediction of Fukuyama seemed to have failed because of the tilt of power from Russia to China. The "end of history" because liberal democracy will prevail did not totally happen. Although of course, all the telltales were there. Maybe it was something that could not be predicted as we really can tell what future brings.

  4. 4 out of 5

    John Morgan

    While I certainly disagree with this book's thesis - that the spread of globalist capitalism and liberal democracy to all parts of the world represents the goal and end point of the historical process - it certainly remains the archetypal work for the American political outlook of the 1990s, during the brief, magical period between America's triumph in the Cold War and 9/11. And, of course, this dream of the '90s remains a potent force in many quarters of America today, even if the events of the While I certainly disagree with this book's thesis - that the spread of globalist capitalism and liberal democracy to all parts of the world represents the goal and end point of the historical process - it certainly remains the archetypal work for the American political outlook of the 1990s, during the brief, magical period between America's triumph in the Cold War and 9/11. And, of course, this dream of the '90s remains a potent force in many quarters of America today, even if the events of the past 15 years stand as its refutation.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Reid

    I normally dont get down with political philosophy books, but this one really explores some serious ideas while putting them in the context of history. Fukuyama bases almost all of his ideology off of Hegel and Kojeve, a modern Hegel scholar from Czech Republic. I love history yet have found Hegel incomprehensible and too dense to even consider buying one of his tomes - for people who are interested in history or the idea of dialectics, read this book. Fukuyama explains Hegel while placing him i I normally dont get down with political philosophy books, but this one really explores some serious ideas while putting them in the context of history. Fukuyama bases almost all of his ideology off of Hegel and Kojeve, a modern Hegel scholar from Czech Republic. I love history yet have found Hegel incomprehensible and too dense to even consider buying one of his tomes - for people who are interested in history or the idea of dialectics, read this book. Fukuyama explains Hegel while placing him in the context of liberal democratic government - Fukuyama follows Kojeve's assertion that this is the end of history because there are no serious competitors to liberal democracy. The fall of communism and the subsequent unveiling of information on the corruption and violence that those regimes inflicted on their own people has led to a more or less universal acceptance of democracy as the preferred form of government. Fukuyama and Kojeve believe that democracy best satisfies man's "desire for recognition" - which leads to man's stupid ideas - mainly war, envy, etc. These aggressive tendencies of man are what cause history and the end of history has been brought about by the acceptance of the governmental form (liberal democracy) which best allows all men the opportunity for recognition. Seriously, this is an insightful, true book full of great intellectual ideas.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jareed

    “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 d “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.” Francis Fukuyama was born on October 27, 1952 to Yoshio Fukuyama, a second generation Japanese American, and Toshiko Kawata Fukuyama. Fukuyama’s childhood years were spent in New York city and in 1967, the family moved to State College, Pennsylvania, where he then attended high school. His Bachelor of Arts in Classics was obtained in 1974 from Cornell University and taught right after in the Yale University Department of Comparative Literature during 1974 – 1975. In 1981, he received his Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science from Harvard University by doing a dissertation on Soviet foreign policy. Francis Fukuyama was a member of the Political Science Department of the RAND Corporation which conducts researches about public policies in Santa Monica,California from 1979 to 1980, 1983 – 1989, and then in 1995 – 1996 . In 1981 and 1982, Francis Fukuyama was an official member of the Policy Planning Staff of the United States Department of State where he focused on Middle Eastern issues. In 1989, he returned to the same body, but this time as a deputy director for European political and military affairs. While he was a member of this said policy planning staff, he published an essay entitled “The End of History?” in a small foreign policy journal named The National Interest. The End of History and the Last Man is a book expanding the essay “The End of History?” that Francis Fukuyama wrote in 1981. It sparked extraordinary debate both in the United States and abroad. Francis Fukuyama’s analytical philosophy is anchored in the fact that the article was written five months before the collapse of the Berlin wall where ideological contentions between democracies and communism were in head to head disputation. His employment at those times and his origin of education has surely predicated his preferences in writing the article and eventually the book. Being a RAND corporation researcher and as a member of the United States Department Policy Planning Staff would have surely molded his very reasons for writing such. As an officially employed citizen of the United States, one cannot deny that fact that he must advocate to the principles of the State and government that has employed, nurtured and protected him, and that is liberal democracy. We may say that because he is of the government, he wrote the “End of History?” to impinge on disintegration of the Berlin wall. The End of History and the Last Man posits the idea of writing a universal history of human development with the end of liberal democracy. The prevalent extension of not only liberal political but also economic ideas throughout the communist world and to third world countries presupposes that mankind has reached its ideological evolutionary process. Although the occurrence of events in the simplistic sense of history still occurs, the evolution of human society has reached its end with liberal democracy and not with communism. Francis Fukuyama points significant emphasis on the French and American Revolutions. He stresses that the amalgamated ideals formed in the momentous revolutions were the indispensable foundations of the end of man’s history, liberal democracy. His periodization ends with all states having the same form of government. It rejects Marx’s idea of human development with communism as the end goals of the system. And just as any post – modern theory rejects grand narratives in existence,so does it support and enact one of its own. This is what Francis Fukuyama’s work is doing, it rejects the various numerous ideas of the development of human society and presents that grand narrative that societal development ends with the institutionalization of liberal democracy in every state. Perhaps the biggest critique about Francis Fukuyama and his book The End of History and The Last man is that he has this tendency to show his biases on his writings. His position in the government of the nation is clearly felt in the arguments of the origin of liberal democracy and the end of which he speaks of in essence perpetuates the imperialistic aims of a world super power. This review has been cross-posted at imbookedindefinitely

  7. 4 out of 5

    Clif

    I first read this book when it came out in 1992, was impressed by it and kept it for a second read that I completed yesterday. My first impression that this is a very important work has been confirmed, not only did I find my original highlighting justified, I added a few more. The derision the book has received is not justified and is based on a superficial analysis of the author's idea. Fukuyama takes as his theme the idea of G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831) that history is linear and has arrived at its I first read this book when it came out in 1992, was impressed by it and kept it for a second read that I completed yesterday. My first impression that this is a very important work has been confirmed, not only did I find my original highlighting justified, I added a few more. The derision the book has received is not justified and is based on a superficial analysis of the author's idea. Fukuyama takes as his theme the idea of G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831) that history is linear and has arrived at its destination. This contrasts to the view that history is cyclical and that mankind can be put right back into earlier conditions through the loss of what we have at present. The End of History is a very carefully and clearly written attempt to show that there is no going back and, for entirely different reasons, no further advance is possible. We cannot go back for technological reasons; the knowledge we have of the physical world cannot be unlearned. Though we will surely go forward technologically, we cannot go forward to something new politically because the contradictions of political life that have driven mankind through different ideologies have reached a resolution. As the author is careful to point out, and as is obvious to anyone, this doesn't mean that there will be no more events taking place or that politics will end. There can still be wars, as we know, and unforeseen things will happen that will fill the history books of the future. But Hegel's idea of the dialectic, that political progress takes place through thesis meeting antithesis then moving on to synthesis before a new contradiction in the synthesis sets up the cycle again, has reached a conclusion in liberal democracy with its recognition of the human equality of all people. At long last mankind has reached the stage where there are no masters and subjects, but equal citizens who can determine the course of their own lives free of the dictates of those who formerly would claim to be superior. The history of kings, tyrants, and the concept of the ubermenchen of National Socialism is over. The right to rule now comes, in much of the world, from freely held elections as such ideas as the divine right of kings have lost legitimacy due to their irrationality. This is a key point, that ideas driving ideologies have resulted through trial and failure in the coming of one idea that works with a method for resolving contradictions within it. Even nationalism, that we know so well, is irrational in that it says one group of people is superior to another purely from living in one place and not another. There is no longer any denying that one person is equally human with another regardless of labels. Fukuyama devotes much attention to the concept of thymos as the ancient Greeks called spiritedness or the drive to power that propels those who dare to defy even death for the sake of achievement. It is this fearlessness that throughout history has brought those who have it to a high degree (he calls them megalogthymic to power over others because the individual will risk all, beyond reason, when others either fear for their safety and yield to him or are destroyed by him in competition. Today, this drive for power/superiority has been diverted into business. One can be a megalomaniac in business without bringing war to society. True, the risk of life is not involved, but the acquisition of many mansions and wives is far better than the destruction of armies the devastation of cities and the accompanying deaths of thousands for the will of one man as we saw with Hitler. Fascism and communism were the last contenders and went down as proven failures. Liberal democracy with capitalism has solved the problem of how to handle the human psyche (but see below) and as such is the destination of human history. Certainly there are many parts of the world where "history" continues with warlords fighting and no sign of liberal democracy, yet the appeal of the latter is obvious and it gradually spreads though its association with capitalism. As Fukuyama writes, the jury is still out on whether a democracy is necessary for economic success (think of how well China is doing), but it is undeniable that democracy answers the need of every individual for recognition. There is the big problem of the environment, but nobody has anything else to suggest that might be superior to our current system in meeting the challenge. There is the big problem of nuclear weapons but, again, nobody has proposed a way to get rid of them and they cannot be un-invented. We are condemned to live with them. The modern world might well be destroyed as a result but a rebuilding would attempt to remake liberal democracy though anarchic times might be passed through first. We see in the present a livable, workable way of life that we would not consider giving up for anything that went before and with nothing better on offer putting us at the end of history. But wait! What of that megalothymic man? Is cutthroat business really a satisfying substitute for defying death? Consider all the people who deliberately court death for the feeling it gives, the Evel Knievals of the world. Think of the mass shooters that pop up almost weekly now. Not only are these men/boys courting death, they bring it on themselves deliberately after carelessly taking many before them. Could this be a symptom of people who do not fit into the end of history; are lost amid the material plenty in isolation and anomie? Would someone seriously consider bringing the whole house down on our society simply for the thrill to self it might bring and the hope that it would return us to the bloody battle of history? This is the question of the last man with which the book ends. Francis Fukuyama is a wonderful thinker and writes so clearly that I easily found myself lost in the book. He covers much more than I have mentioned here, in particular the question of morals and relativism. As we come to realize that we should accept all people as equally human and as we realize that people are animals and that animals share many things with us, our concern broadens and our exclusivity dissolves. How do we determine where lines are to be drawn. I have also left out his extensive discussion of Christianity as a foundation for the overthrow of the master/slave mentality. The End of History and the Last Man is a fascinating read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gordan Karlic

    I didn't plan on writing a long review but because of Marko Pustaj, it will be quite long but even then I will only scratch the surface. I will start with the questions what is liberal democracy? And who was the victor of the Cold war? Let's answer the second question first. Primarily victor of the Cold war isn't liberal democracy as Fukuyama thought, it is capitalism. Sure countries with liberal democracies lead capitalism toward victory, but during 45 years of Cold often too often did those coun I didn't plan on writing a long review but because of Marko Pustaj, it will be quite long but even then I will only scratch the surface. I will start with the questions what is liberal democracy? And who was the victor of the Cold war? Let's answer the second question first. Primarily victor of the Cold war isn't liberal democracy as Fukuyama thought, it is capitalism. Sure countries with liberal democracies lead capitalism toward victory, but during 45 years of Cold often too often did those countries turned a blind eye on violation of human rights, of friendly dictatorships or made compromising with communist states opposed to the Soviet Union. Because of all that, today's world has a capitalist economy (although ideology would be much fitting term it is a question I won't go into it now) everywhere and liberal democracy covers only about half of the world. Now let's try to answer the first question, I am pretty certain Fukuyama had in mind USA and countries with similar governments in the 80s and early 90s and for me here is the biggest problem. First of all, every problem democracy had he swops under the rug with adjective liberal, because all the flaws democracies experience throughout history he really doesn't acknowledge (he mentions them so rarely and sparsely in a book so long I don't even consider them mention) and that is flaw because although some of the problems like colonialism or slavery isn't really an issue at the moment, they could derive because democracies are still run by capitalism that is fundamentally "flawed" in making a disproportionate accumulation of goods possible. And just because in a democracy everybody is equal on the paper or he would say there is Isothymos (everybody is respected as equal) in democracy, in reality, it isn't that cut and dry. Disproportionate wealth makes different classes and different classes want different treatments - long story short. Or you could spin problem by 180 like Marx turned Hegel but the problem is still there. There is also a problem within liberal democracies, how to acknowledge others (civilizations, cultures, nations and so on) are different without making them different and by extend being a racist. Well, I don't know but neither liberal democracy does, in 19-century democracies used rationalization, in a state we are all equal (kinda or accurate should be said for that time equal) but we are superior to the other (or at least non-western countries). So flaw is: how to say Muslim woman not to wear hijab, but allow rapper to have a hoodie without targeting a certain group and becoming what would be considerate as a racist behavior. When I find an answer I will tell you. And that is why this doesn't end of time or time of the last men. He thought liberal democracy won when in fact capitalism won using liberal democracy and he thought liberal democracies don't have a flaw as big as mentioned. But nevertheless, he made a lot of good arguments made a lot of foundations and interpreted thoughts of the famous philosophers in this new age of humankind. There is so much more to say, but this book got 4 because it won't age as well as a Clash of civilization, it missed its mark and it was bloody too long, too much repeating in it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ray Hartley

    Francis Fukuyama must hold the title for Most Misunderstood Intellectual. He is derided for having predicted in this seminal work written after the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union that history had "ended". Of course history didn't end and that was not what Fukuyama was suggesting. He was positing that that there would be no "higher stage of development" which would follow capitalism and liberal democracy. Instead, there would be a continuous refinement and adjustment Francis Fukuyama must hold the title for Most Misunderstood Intellectual. He is derided for having predicted in this seminal work written after the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union that history had "ended". Of course history didn't end and that was not what Fukuyama was suggesting. He was positing that that there would be no "higher stage of development" which would follow capitalism and liberal democracy. Instead, there would be a continuous refinement and adjustment of the free market and, by extension, the liberal democratic political system. This has been proved to be the case by the liberalisation of China and the virtual disappearance of communism as an alternative elsewhere. Some twenty years later, Fukuyama's thesis stands and has been borne out by world events.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    The main thesis of this book is that the combination of free market capitalism and liberal democracy (based on human rights) represents 'the end of history'. To wit, all countries and peoples in the world will eventually attain this supposedly homogeneous state of government, and it will be stable and self-sustaining. The justification for this thesis is based predominantly in philosophy, although also in history. It is interesting to note that far longer is spent on justifying the long-term sus The main thesis of this book is that the combination of free market capitalism and liberal democracy (based on human rights) represents 'the end of history'. To wit, all countries and peoples in the world will eventually attain this supposedly homogeneous state of government, and it will be stable and self-sustaining. The justification for this thesis is based predominantly in philosophy, although also in history. It is interesting to note that far longer is spent on justifying the long-term sustainability of liberal democracy than free market economies. The book was published in 1992 and the tone strongly reflects American triumphalism in the wake of the iron curtain’s fall. Fukuyama's arguments build on the Platonic idea of human nature as a balance between desire, rationality, and thymos. The latter is explained as a desire for recognition, related to pride and personal honour, which can manifest in the extreme as megathymia, or the strong desire to be recognised as better than everyone else. Although this book was very thought-provoking and definitely worth reading, what it singularly failed to convince me of was this: what makes the 1992 state of liberal democracy so very wonderful that humanity will never seek a better system? Even if at that moment, and indeed twenty years later, no other major ideological contenders have emerged, why assume that they never will? Fukuyama mentions in chapter 4 a thought I've often had, that current generations, unlike those of their grandparents, cannot imagine a future that is substantially better and, more importantly, substantially different than today’s world. Whereas I would frame this as a rather sad lack of imagination and utopian thinking, Fukuyama frames it as a demonstration of liberal democracy and capitalism's triumph. Surely the only certainty in history is change? It seems incredibly arrogant to say that we as a species have gone as a far as we can in terms of organising ourselves. It also ignores the vast injustices, instabilities, and dissatisfactions with free market democracy in its various manifestations across the globe. Fukuyama is writing from the perspective of a privileged, highly educated male in the richest country in the world. To him, the political and economic systems of the world may have seemed as good as they could be. That definitely does not mean that everyone agrees, in 2012 even less than in 1992. That said, this book has been widely read, discussed, and cited for good reasons. It is dense with ideas that you might agree or disagree with, but that are undoubtedly worth debating. I now intend to read Fukuyama's 2011 book, The Origins of Political Order, in order to see how his views have evolved.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Frederik Vandelannoote

    Excellent book that explains the American imperialist and capitalist mind. In general i don't agree with this hegelian type of progressive philosophy or do I sympatise with liberalism, but that being said, good insides.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Arvind

    Is liberal democracy the highest state of evolution of the state/government so far ? The book argues that liberal democracy is indeed the best form so far and goes further to argue that it is the best form that can ever be achieved. In that sense, it is the "end of history" and the middle-class human being is the "last man". 3-4 years ago, I read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand which makes a great case for uninhibited/unfettered individual (economic) liberty with a "laissez-faire" (minimum) government Is liberal democracy the highest state of evolution of the state/government so far ? The book argues that liberal democracy is indeed the best form so far and goes further to argue that it is the best form that can ever be achieved. In that sense, it is the "end of history" and the middle-class human being is the "last man". 3-4 years ago, I read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand which makes a great case for uninhibited/unfettered individual (economic) liberty with a "laissez-faire" (minimum) government which would be responsible only for law and order. At that time, it greatly appealed to me especially since it also stressed a lot on integrity and ethics. I became an Ayn Rand fan and perhaps I still am, but with time and reading, a few questions arose :- a) Is a laissez-faire government responsible only for law and order utilitarian ? i.e. does it ensure the greatest good of the greatest number of citizens for the greatest time ? We know communism has failed in its utopian dream, but is this the best we have ? I framed my own argument that the government has to take care of atleast of education and health, not out of pity or ethics but PURELY OUT OF SELF-INTEREST. How ? This would ensure equality of opportunity and help in law and order. Secondly, the talent of the population is maximum utilised by educating all and this leads to a virtuous cycle of prosperity. To explain further, a society cannot let the genius of people born poor run waste and it can be tapped only thru education. This is win-win. b) Ayn Rand's vision was based on self-interest and reason (logic). There are a number of historical,philosophical and behavioural economics arguments that clearly demonstrate that man does not live by reason alone. There is DIGNITY which is equally if not more important to him. For example, in Ayn Rand's world, there would be no charity at all since it is against the donor's self-interest. This book goes in depth into the dignity aspect and how it is satisfied by liberal democracy. Finally, moving on from Ayn Rand, this book was written when the Berlin Wall fell. It also predicted that since communism failed and lost and liberal democracy succeeded and won, it is the way ahead. And another landmark book written at the same time, Samuel Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, argued that the world will move towards conflicts along cultural lines. For example, the problem with Islamic terrorism and the border/separatist conflicts of Muslim-majority countries, or the China/Japan/USA clash etc were predicted by him. Which of the true models is better at describing and predicting the world ? That is beyond my scope but it was fun to read the rebuttals that both authors added in their 20th anniversary editions. Also, this is largely theory and will require some concentration to read but its not too tough !

  13. 5 out of 5

    Arun Divakar

    When I was done with this book, all I had in my head was a faint buzzing. I took it initially to be a sign of incomprehension but later figured it out to be one of weariness. The weariness stemmed from the theories that the author postulates in the book. A quick look at the reviews tells me that I am not the only one with the same ideas. According to Fukuyama, we reach the end of history when we achieve the liberal-capitalist democratic form of government. He is quick to tell us that this does n When I was done with this book, all I had in my head was a faint buzzing. I took it initially to be a sign of incomprehension but later figured it out to be one of weariness. The weariness stemmed from the theories that the author postulates in the book. A quick look at the reviews tells me that I am not the only one with the same ideas. According to Fukuyama, we reach the end of history when we achieve the liberal-capitalist democratic form of government. He is quick to tell us that this does not mean that events of historical importance will not occur from then on but simply that historical evolution will grind to a halt at this point. All very interesting thoughts but then he fails to observe some of the most notable players on the world stage. First and foremost, in all the discourse that Fukuyama gives about liberal democracy not one word is mentioned of China. A single party dominated superpower stood looming over the World and yet Fukuyama missed to interpret its importance or the contradiction to his theory. Then again there is Russia which while outwardly called a democracy is also a reminder of the power that authoritarian governments can assume in today’s political scenario. This forms only part of the counter –argument. Then again was the insistence that with the curtains drawn on the Cold War, global conflict had come to an end. In my reading of the counter theses, this was the one point that met with the most vehement opposition. The fact that the author would overlook the escalating issues brought in by religious fundamentalism was met with much scorn. To quote George Will ’History had just returned from vacation’. Of course, he did come out with detailed points defending his view later on but then accommodating these in the book would have given it much more credibility. The fact that I could dig up and read so much about this book and its postulates is proof enough that it is an interesting book. I do not necessarily agree with 80% of the book’s contents but totally loved the way it made my mind work and find all the counter arguments to what was in here.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mohammad Aboomar

    I am mesmerized by how clear and convincing this book was. Ideas like the directional interpretation of history, the master/slave relationship, the struggle for recognition and thymos were new to me. Now I have to read Hegel, Nietzsche and Koheve to get more into the author's frame of mind. I agree with Fukuyama about many points, above all his portrayal of liberal democracy as the end of history according the Hegelian approach. My main disagreement with him is that he puts the US and Europe in t I am mesmerized by how clear and convincing this book was. Ideas like the directional interpretation of history, the master/slave relationship, the struggle for recognition and thymos were new to me. Now I have to read Hegel, Nietzsche and Koheve to get more into the author's frame of mind. I agree with Fukuyama about many points, above all his portrayal of liberal democracy as the end of history according the Hegelian approach. My main disagreement with him is that he puts the US and Europe in the same liberal democracy basket even though the political experience is very different.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Stieb

    The question to ask with a controversial book like the end of history is not whether he's too Western-centric, whether he overlooks race and gender issues, or whether he is politically incorrect at times. The question we should ask is simple: Is he right? After reading this challenging and original work, I have to say that Fukuyama is basically right about the course of history. He is right not in a teleological sense, but in an empirically observable and philosophically supportable way. This is The question to ask with a controversial book like the end of history is not whether he's too Western-centric, whether he overlooks race and gender issues, or whether he is politically incorrect at times. The question we should ask is simple: Is he right? After reading this challenging and original work, I have to say that Fukuyama is basically right about the course of history. He is right not in a teleological sense, but in an empirically observable and philosophically supportable way. This is probably one of the most straw-manned arguments ever, so I'm going to summarize the argument as best I can. Fukuyama says that history at the end of the Cold War may be ending with the establishment of liberal democracy and capitalism as the only viable system of government, society, and economics. Of course, events will continue to happen, life will continue to change, and there will still be conflict. Fukuyama is talking about a very specific form of history ending. Fukuyama takes a Hegelian dialectical view of history in which a thesis (one way of life, such as aristocracy) clashes with an antithesis (a rival way of life emerging from the contradictions of the thesis, such as democracy) and forms a synthesis (some new system) that becomes the new thesis. The process then repeats. Fukuyama says that this process has been continuing throughout human history, driven by three historical forces: animalistic desire for the basic needs of life, reason, and the struggle for recognition, or thymos. Thymos roughly means spiritedness. It is the part of the human psyche that strives to better itself, to demand recognition of its dignity from others, and to control animalistic desires. For instance, one rarely sees a bear go on a hunger strike to protest a higher cause, such as the treatment of bears in another country. Hegel said that human beings are not separated from animals merely by their reason, but by their ability to strive and sacrifice for higher ideals and their demands for recognition of their rights and dignity, aka thymos. Hegel believed that history began with the struggle for recognition between individuals. Those who were willing to risk death in order to demand recognition and power became the masters, and those who preferred security over recognition became the slaves. Since this distant and largely metaphorical state of nature, the slaves' striving for recognition has been the major driving force of history. It drove the slaves to create Christianity, which erased the master/slave hierarchy by declaring everyone equal in the eyes of God. It also drove them to create liberal, democratic government, which Hegel saw as more of a secularized and politicized version of Christianity. Throughout the process of history, human beings have been driving to fulfill these three basic needs. The 20th century, according to Fukuyama, has witnessed the conquest of aristocracy (WWI), fascism (WWII), and communism (the Cold War) and the emergence of liberal democracy/capitalism as the system that best satisfies the three basic human needs. He convincingly shows how these systems utterly failed in satisfying basic human needs. It is hard to argue with him on this, given the wreckage left by these systems in the 20th century. There may be areas of the world, such as the Middle East, that have thus far rejected liberalism and capitalism in favor of authoritarianism and conservative religion, but Fukuyama counters by saying that Islam has no universal appeal like liberalism and capitalism do. After all, there were millions of Muslims calling for democracy during the Arab Spring, but we have not seen Americans, Europeans, and Chinese calling for Islam. There are also areas of the world that have become capitalistic but not democratic, but Fukuyama rightly argues that the growth of capitalism is usually conducive to liberal politics and will probably drive those societies towards democracy. After all, capitalism cannot totally fulfill people's desire for recognition and dignity, as seen, for example, in the Tiananmen Square protests, which occurred in the midst of an economic boom in China in 1989. Aside from the struggle for recognition, Fukuyama sees modern natural science as a major driving force towards homogenizing the world in liberal, capitalistic terms. Capitalism requires educated populations, mobile labor, rational systems of organization, and a highly specialized division of labor. These traits tend to break down traditional economic modes and social norms/structures while creating more liberal, wealthier, and homogeneous populations. Scientific knowledge makes all of these changes possible. Moreover, once some societies have made these changes and advanced rapidly in terms of wealth and technology, other societies that wish to compete will have to emulate their basic characteristics in order to keep up unless that have a crucial resource, such as oil, that allows them to become wealth while maintaining traditional social systems. Finally, there are the object lessons of history driving the world towards liberalism and capitalism, systems which have proven far more effective than communism or socialism in creating prosperity and providing for human beings' three basic needs. Quick note: Fukuyama is an advocate of capitalism, but not of the libertarian free market variety, which has caused many serious problems. One legitimate criticism of Fukuyama is that he whitewashes so much history, such as racial and gender oppression, which still continues today. Fair enough, but this critique is beside the point. In our debates about gender and race in the late 20th century, the vast majority of people in the post-historical world are arguing over the terms and meaning of a liberal society, but not over whether or not we should have a liberal democracy. Feminists and racial justice advocates (of which I am both) are trying to hold liberal democracy to its highest standards by applying its protections and principles to everyone rather than trying to tear down the democratic liberal system. Fukuyama says that post historical societies will still face challenges from within and especially from the historical world, but the big question of what kind of system we should have is basically over. The answer: liberal democracy and capitalism. He even charts this answer out by showing how many societies have become democratized and industrialized in the past few centuries. The path may have been bumpy, but there is a clear trajectory. He is not saying this trend is inevitable or beyond human control, but that there are deep reasons in our social forms, ideas, and psychological needs Fukuyama is not totally sanguine about the end of history, though. Clearly our system today grants people rights, dignity, and prosperity, but can it truly satisfy the restless and somewhat inegalitarian thymos? Will the boredom and homogenization of this thesis create a new antithesis? He mostly dismisses the leftist cases, which are based on desperate rear-guard attempts to defend the viability of communism. He takes the right-wing challenges much more seriously. Here's one problem: modern liberalism has become an obsessive leveler. To paraphrase Aristotle, democratic beings believes that because they are equal in one sense (equal under the law) that they are equal in every sense (intelligence, looks, talents, etc). Human inequality is manifestly true and will remain true into the foreseeable future. We may be equal in rights and dignity, but there is clearly a wide gradation of talent, ambition, and work ethic among people. In fact, the freedom of liberalism and capitalism is designed to harness the energy, talent, and drive of the superior (Hegel's old masters) towards ends that are hopefully socially beneficial (entrepreneurship, scholarship, invention, exploration) or at the minimum, not harmful to others (athletic achievement, fame). This is basically the idea of sublimation, which Fukuyama should have borrowed from Freud but did not (minor oversight). The problem here is that the potential for radical egalitarianism lies dormant within liberalism and is in tension with the thymotic striving of the "better people." The self-esteem movement, the "everyone is beautiful" movement, and our growing hesitation to criticize people's life choices are just some examples of the potential for radical egalitarianism. The risk here, according to Fukuyama, is that the thymotic strugglers will become so frustrated with this herd leveling that they will break away and reject liberalism altogether, forming a new antithesis and restarting the cycle of history. Fukuyama keenly identifies the ideology at the heart of this problem: relativism. Relativism makes it impossible to judge others, whether they are individuals or societies. However, our society is increasingly unwilling to judge failures, to judge the obese, to judge criminals, to judge the lazy, etc. Everyone passes, everyone gets a trophy, we are all equal. People are praised increasingly not for what they do or think, but for who they are because we are all so special. Without the ability to judge and assign responsibility, Fukuyama fears liberalism will eventually seek to tear down those who try to separate themselves as superior in the struggle for recognition, even if those strivers do so in a productive, sublimated way. The strivers will get fed up, and boom! history is back. Fukuyama brilliantly notes the self-destructive nature of relativism: "Relativism-the doctrine that maintains that all values are merely relative and which attacks all 'privileged perspectives'- must ultimately end up undermining democratic and tolerate values as well. Relativism is not a weapon that can be aimed selectively at the enemies one chooses. It fires indiscriminately, shooting out the legs of not on the the absolutisms, dogmas, and certainties of the Western tradition, but that tradition's emphasis on tolerance, diversity, and freedom of thought as well." In other words, not only does relativism exacerbate the threat of thymotic strivers, it undermines liberal democracy by saying that it is just another system of values and institutions, no better or worse than any other. How can one defend such a system on these principles? If everything is relative, why would you even bother? This is one of the reasons why I think almost no one is truly a relativist, just like almost no one is truly a pacifist. Many people may assert relativism, but they can't stomach (as I cannot) the way people live or are treated in non-liberal societies. One cannot defend liberalism while standing on a relativist epitome, which rots itself out inherently. Of course, no one is relativistic about their own lives, where they demands recognition and justice for themselves and do not believe that everyone is simply equal. Fukuyama says we must not be afraid to stand up for the liberal democratic capitalist system as objectively the best system in satisfying the three basic human needs, not just because it is our system but because there is evidence to suggest its superiority. Taming the beasts of relativism and post-modernism (which are not totally useless as intellectual tools but which are poor foundations for social and political organizations) is a key task for liberal democratic capitalism if they want to prevent the return of history. I should add that I think Fukuyama's fears are somewhat overblown, as radical egalitarianism has not yet taken hold and our system offers plenty of recognition and opportunities to the thymotic strivers. Things seem plenty competitive and challenging here in my graduate program, for instance. I probably got a lot of things wrong about Fukuyama's argument in this review. If anyone has read this far, I would be happy to hear your thoughts and criticisms. This is a complicated and difficult book, but it is completely worth reading. It challenges many of the popular views and assumptions of academia and our broader society today. I encourage you to consider it on its own terms, rather than what you wish he was arguing so you can just shut it down. Fukuyama is one of the best writers out there at tackling the big questions. If you read him, focus on this one: Is he right?

  16. 4 out of 5

    Steve Greenleaf

    At the Jaipur Literature Festival, I looked forward to hearing a program on “History Strikes Back & the End of Globalism”. It was dialogue between John Ralston Saul & Hubert Vedrine (a former French foreign minister). I hadn’t read either author, although Saul’s Voltaire’s Bastards is packed with my other books back in Iowa City). I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Glamorous Nomad and C joined me. We were in for a surprise. Saul opened the session by singling out “some guy called Francis At the Jaipur Literature Festival, I looked forward to hearing a program on “History Strikes Back & the End of Globalism”. It was dialogue between John Ralston Saul & Hubert Vedrine (a former French foreign minister). I hadn’t read either author, although Saul’s Voltaire’s Bastards is packed with my other books back in Iowa City). I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Glamorous Nomad and C joined me. We were in for a surprise. Saul opened the session by singling out “some guy called Francis Fukuyama” for writing one of the “stupidest books in the last 25 years”. In this book, Saul claimed, Fukuyama declared the end of history. Saul continued that Fukuyama then wrote another “stupid” book (unnamed) and yet Fukuyama still makes money. I was flabbergasted, while C and the Glamorous Nomad (who’s read Fukuyama’s The Origins of Political Order) simply walked out. I was shocked and puzzled. Also angry, but this bit of intellectual character assassination intrigued me enough to stay. I’d read The End of History and the Last Man about 15 years ago or so, and I’d thought it brilliant. Had I missed something? The good news from this is that it’s led me to re-read The End of History and the Last Man (1992; with a New Afterward, 2006). (I’d purchased a copy here in India last October because I thought it worth a re-read; perhaps a bit of intuition here). To start with the conclusion: the book is brilliant. It’s one of the best books about politics that I’ve read. It is also one of the most discussed and criticized books about politics since its publication. Saul’s low blows aren’t new or novel. Why so? I suspect because few people have read it carefully or have grasped its true significance. What Fukuyama wrote, shortly after the fall of Communism in 1989, was that History (may have) come to an end. (I know: China, North Korea, Viet Nam, and Cuba—these regimes survived, but Communism as a living ideology was dead, a few zombies notwithstanding.) Fukuyama, building on the work of Hegel and Hegel’s 20th century interpreter, Alexandre Kojeve, argues that liberal democracy may have answered as fully as possible the “struggle for recognition” that has driven History. By the way, there is history and then there is History. “History” with the capital “H” is not a Teutonic affectation on my part, but it’s the term for the Hegelian understanding of the fundamental pattern of change in human history. (With a small “h”, history is the story of the stuff that happens.) Hegel believed that History came to an end in 1805 at the Battle of Jena, when the ideas of the French Revolution, imposed by the military might of Napoleon, defeated the forces of reaction. Fukuyama’s intellectual project and linage are not familiar to most readers. Few have any direct knowledge of Hegel. Most, like me, only learned about Hegel as the precursor to Marx. I expect only a handful of persons know of Kojeve. (I didn’t.) Thus, History is a new concept to most readers, and many seemed to have confused the End of History with end of stuff happening, which isn’t what Fukuyama argued. But History isn’t the most important subject of the book for me. The most intriguing part comes from Fukuyama’s project of reinstating thymos into our understanding of human motivation. If you’re read Plato’s Republic (or about it), you know of Plato’s tripartite division of the soul into Reason (logos) on top (for the Philosopher-Kings) and desire (appetite) at the bottom for the masses. In the middle, he places thymos, often translated as “spiritedness” for lack of a better English equivalent. This attribute manifests in the Guardians, the warriors who protect the polis. Fukuyama notes that thymos dominates in aristocratic warrior societies. Thymos receives a new and unique treatment in the Anglo-American liberal tradition starting with Hobbes and Locke. To deal with “vainglory” or “pride” (as manifestations of thymos), these authors and their successors—including Madison and Hamilton—work to sublimate thymos under the devices of desire. Bourgeois man becomes interested only in fulfilling desires and living rationally. So Anglo-American tradition argues and hopes. But fortunately for the U.S., Madison, Hamilton, and their peers knew that strong men will still strive, and they put in place many checks on power. In the German tradition, Hegel puts thymos front and center as a part of the “struggle for recognition” that drives the dialectic of master and slave (or lordship and bondage, if you prefer). This struggle for recognition drives History. With the French Revolution, the Christian project of equality before God now translates into equality between individuals in the social and political realm. Work becomes dignified as a replacement for the thymotic urge to prove one’s worth on the field of battle, the warrior-aristocrat ideal. Fukuyama also discusses whether contemporary liberal societies will see a true End of History by granting recognition to all and by channeling thymotic urges into more productive pursuits than war. Fukuyama points out that among all the factors leading to the outbreak of WWI, we shouldn’t ignore the popular expression of thymos that led millions to greet the coming of the war with glee. Many greeted the war as an outlet for pent up desires. This is an astute observation. Now, perhaps, war has become too terrible for its use as such a popular outlet for thymos. Fukuyama also explores whether the twin ideals of liberty (which fosters outlets for thymos in individuals) and equality (our urge to see each acknowledged as equals) can co-exist over a long period as often antagonistic goals. Fukuyama levels a sharp critique of realism in international relations, especially in its academic guise typified by Kenneth Waltz and John Mearsheimer. Fukuyama argues that academic realism posits that nothing has changed since Thucydides and that nations are motivated only by the desire for greater power viz. any potential rivals. Changes (history) in the motivations of actors or the system of international relations count for nothing in the purer forms of realist theory. Fukuyama is certainly correct in his critique. Legitimacy has become a major touchstone of action in the international realm as well as in the domestic realm. I highly recommend this book. Fukuyama isn’t as naïve or brazen as his detractors would like to portray him. Like Thucydides and Machiavelli, Fukuyama examines the world today to gain deeper insight into the most significant issues in political thinking. Postscript: If you want to see and hear John Ralston Saul’s attack on Fukuyama (and Hubert Vedrine’s more measure comments, go here, starting about 3:40 minutes. My question in defense of Fukuyama and challenging Saul comes at 49:45. I didn't speak as artfully as I would have liked, but I think that I get my point across. The answer is vague. In fact, I believe I have a good deal of sympathy for Saul’s perspective, but his modis operandi in attacking Fukuyama and Huntington was disgraceful. He should—as should we all—at least accurately and honestly state our adversaries’ positions if we are to attack them in abstentia.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Will

    This is one of those books like The Bell Curve that's mostly maligned by people who've only seemed to read the introduction. As a whole, it's a fairly considered work, and most of it isn't exactly new or controversial (though Fukuyama overkills it on the Hegel commentary, which seems to go on and on and on). Take this, for example, which I think most people would underline and put little stars beside it if it appeared somewhere in Ernest Gellner:The nationalist is primarily preoccupied not with This is one of those books like The Bell Curve that's mostly maligned by people who've only seemed to read the introduction. As a whole, it's a fairly considered work, and most of it isn't exactly new or controversial (though Fukuyama overkills it on the Hegel commentary, which seems to go on and on and on). Take this, for example, which I think most people would underline and put little stars beside it if it appeared somewhere in Ernest Gellner:The nationalist is primarily preoccupied not with economic gain, but with recognition and dignity. Nationality is not a natural trait; one has nationality only if one is recognized by other people as having it. The recognition one seeks, however, is not for oneself as an individual, but for the group of which one is a member. In a sense, nationalism represents a transmutation of the megalothymia of earlier ages into a more modern and democratic form. Instead of individual princes struggling for personal glory, we now have entire nations demanding recognition of their nationhood. Like the aristocratic master, these nations have shown themselves willing to accept the risk of violent death for the sake of recognition, for their 'place in the sun.' Other than that, Fukuyama's critique of international realism is fairly surprising given his conservativism, which becomes increasingly obvious as the book progresses. In the final part ("The Last Man") he actually says this: Self-respect must be related to some degree of accomplishment, the greater the sense of accomplishment, the greater the sense of self-esteem: one takes greater pride in oneself for having gone through basic training as a Marine, than, say, lining up for a soup kitchen. But in a democracy we are fundamentally adverse to saying that a certain person, or way of life, or activity, is better and more worthwhile than another. Characterizing the homeless and destitute as free-loaders is tasteless. For some reason, it's same conservatives who admire Dust Bowl migrants for their "hardiness" and "perseverance" that are the first to denigrate the contemporary poor for being welfare queens and social parasites. Fukuyama's prattle about self-esteem alludes somewhat to William James' formula (self-esteem equals successes divided by pretensions), but he obviously forgets the latter part of that equation. So don't expect much in the way of civic ethics from Fukuyama, but he does make strong points on the nature of nationalism, international relations, and democracy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Pieter

    This book must be one of the books I referred to the most often. But until now, I have not spent any time to read it. Shame on me. And while I am aware of the main thesis, the book was in some way worth reading. For one, the book is not all about politics, but it discusses philosophy too. Especially Hegel, Rousseau, Kant and Nietzsche (to name a few) are dealt with in detail. Based on Hegel's historicism, Fukuyama builds a political theory that eventually liberal democracy will prevail. At the tim This book must be one of the books I referred to the most often. But until now, I have not spent any time to read it. Shame on me. And while I am aware of the main thesis, the book was in some way worth reading. For one, the book is not all about politics, but it discusses philosophy too. Especially Hegel, Rousseau, Kant and Nietzsche (to name a few) are dealt with in detail. Based on Hegel's historicism, Fukuyama builds a political theory that eventually liberal democracy will prevail. At the time he wrote the book (1992), it made sense. The Iron Curtain had fallen and both Latin America en South East Asia seemed to move towards democracy. And it is fair to state that Fukuyama pointed to islam as the main possible adversary of liberal democracy, long before 9/11. But also countries like Russia who originally chose capitalism, decided already after one decade to leave it. It seemed naive to assume that education would lead to a better society. Pol Pot and Khomeiny had an European training, to little result. Next to that, it is hard to see how a liberal democracy should function as there is little to bind its citizens. It is just a set of people in a random area to decide to co-operate. Fukuyama still underestimates the power of nation and religion, both not necessarily a bad thing. And it is interesting to read that Fukuyama likes UN to be more NATO than a kind of Kantian world order. Some neocon ideology was already popping up at that time. I am also not convinced that 'thymos' (the Greek word for 'spiritedness, the human desire for recognition') can be simply subliminated from the military-political level to business, science or sports. Fukuyama wants to move away from Realpolitik as a rule for foreign policy as it is no longer needed or recommended. Well, I believe recent history has proven Fukuyama's optimism wrong.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michael Gerald

    I read this book as part of my graduate class in Political Science. This book started as an essay in the magazine The National Interest in 1989. The feedback it got led to it being expanded to a full book in 1992. Thus, the book was written in the euphoria over the collapse of communism in Europe. In this book, Fukuyama (a former Assistant Secretary of State) suggests that there are two driving forces of history: the logic of modern science and the struggle for recognition. The combination of the I read this book as part of my graduate class in Political Science. This book started as an essay in the magazine The National Interest in 1989. The feedback it got led to it being expanded to a full book in 1992. Thus, the book was written in the euphoria over the collapse of communism in Europe. In this book, Fukuyama (a former Assistant Secretary of State) suggests that there are two driving forces of history: the logic of modern science and the struggle for recognition. The combination of the two leads to the demise of tyrannies and the eventual establishment of capitalist, liberal democracies. History, as defined, is not just about individual events. According to the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, it is a single, coherent, evolutionary process. Both Hegel and Karl Marx believed that there would be an end of history when humans have achieved a form of society that satisfies its fundamental longings. For Hegel, it was a liberal state; for Marx, it was a communist society. There would be no further progress in principles because the ideal state of being has been achieved. The pessimism that there would be no happy ending for human progress is allegedly attributable to the two world wars and the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century. However, many authoritarian regimes have collapsed due primarily to a lack of legitimacy. The struggle for recognition comes from human free will, the ability of humans to make choices that are sometimes not in accord with natural instinct. The establishment of a modern capitalist, liberal state would mean meeting humans' need for material sufficiency and abundance and the longing for recognition. But does liberal democracy truly satisfy humankind's deepest longing for material progress and recognition? Critics from the Left would say that it does not, due to the inequality caused by capitalism, leaving a large part of humanity unrecognized. Other critics would say that it also does not, because human beings are inherently unequal and that to treat all of them as equal actually denies their humanity. Communist attempts to eliminate inequality and create a "new man" did not only result in millions of deaths, but even made inequality worse by creating a new class of Communist Party officials and apparatchiks. On the other side, the inequality in capitalist liberal democracies is alleviated by state regulation and social welfare, without the utopian and ruthless social engineering that causes atrocities. However, natural inequality surely is a fact of life and inequality due to culture certainly denies some sectors the recognition as human beings. Other critics contend if inequality is bad at all and is the universality of recognition necessary and ideal. The universality of recognition tends to deny that humans are unequal not just through social conventions but also through natural attributes. They also argue that it suppresses the desire to rise above oneself and encourages mediocrity and even boredom. The quality of the recognition brought by liberal democracy is also questioned, whether the recognition through citizenship in a liberal democratic state is better than the recognition bestowed by groups of peers or those tied together by kinship, religion, or common interests. Recognition or self-esteem is also not ascribed, but rather achieved and derived from a sense of accomplishment. Liberal democracies offer opportunities for achievement of recognition through outlets that channel the longing for it without resorting through conflict and war. Examples include entrepreneurship, public office, sports, and other contests. Recognition is also given through civic organizations such as churches, political parties, clubs, etc. The big question is whether the "Last Man" at the "End of History" is truly satisfied with material prosperity and isothymia or the longing for recognition of equality of everyone; or would there be a resurgence of megalothymia or the lust for recognition of one's superiority over another, the one that drove men to conflict for millennia. Many have dismissed Fukuyama's thesis as premature or even impossible, but there is hope that all over the world that it is only through democracies where the equality and recognition for everyone can be pursued. If the remaining authoritarian countries in the world can become peaceful democracies, then maybe, Fukuyama would be proven right.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Murtaza

    Fukuyama posits liberal democracy as a natural endpoint for human societies, because it satisfies the needs of "man as man," the desiring and reasoning parts, but also the desire for "recognition" as a being with dignity and self-esteem. The End of History was a term first coined by Hegel after the victory of the French in the Battle of Jena. It meant not that events would cease to occur, but that the final and most satisfying form of human society had been promulgated. According to the dialecti Fukuyama posits liberal democracy as a natural endpoint for human societies, because it satisfies the needs of "man as man," the desiring and reasoning parts, but also the desire for "recognition" as a being with dignity and self-esteem. The End of History was a term first coined by Hegel after the victory of the French in the Battle of Jena. It meant not that events would cease to occur, but that the final and most satisfying form of human society had been promulgated. According to the dialectic view of history he coined, it did not contain "contradictions" that would lead to society being discarded and founded anew. Other societies would continue to exist, but they would be impelled towards that final form by the logic of modern natural science, which necessitated the creation of capitalist economies and educated populaces to run them who would in turn demand the egalitarian recognition of their dignity afforded by liberal democratic politics. There are two major rebuttals to this argument which Fukuyama touches on. Firstly, that economic inequalities in liberal societies still render people "unequal" in practical terms. Secondly, that equality itself was an unsatisfactory goal. Citing Nietzsche, there are many people in society who would not be satisfied with simply being equal to others and would want their superiority recognized. Modern liberal society is the triumph of slave morality, and an abolition of the master-slave dichotomy in favor of a world where slaves themselves became the masters. Compassion and other ideals which served the interest of slaves now are the dominant mode, but for those who do still feel themselves "superior" on some level being placed in such a circumstance may feel deeply stifling. These individuals may then have an outlet for their megalothymotic urges through capitalist acquisition, sports, conspicuous consumption or some other new form of secularized conquest. Or they simply start history anew and revert to clashes of recognition that characterized past eras, only this time with the destructive tools of modern technology. This book is often unfairly pilloried, mainly I think due to its triumphal title, but in reality its a nuanced and thoughtful work that has in fact not been disproven by later events. Fukuyama hedges his argument not out of any cynicism but out of a mature knowledge that history is not clean and linear. There are "post-historical" as well as "historical" spheres of the world and they interact with each other in myriad ways. But liberal bourgeois is what he is and it is hard to imagine him going all the way back. In time I feel that Fukuyama's thesis will be vindicated to the public by the broader train of events. The historical world (particularly in the Middle East) is going through the same violently painful learning process that Europe did in the 20th century, where it was taught the consequences of an untempered thymos. Particularity of religious feeling may prove an obstacle to a degree, but models of accommodation have already arisen, away from the glare of a media fixated only on conflict. Definitely required reading to understand the times we live in, not in a world full of abstractions but of humans-as-humans.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Navid Asmari Saadabad

    A collection of strong premises and notable historical facts followed by inaccurate conclusions. Starting with Alexander Kojéve’s interpretation of Hegel and the concept of human consciousness, Fukuyama, asserts that desire, reason, and thymos (desire for recognition) are the main ingredients that constitute a human, each of which must be satisfied in the society. He claims that the rapid progress in modern science and technology has provided the means for satisfying desire, while leaving the man A collection of strong premises and notable historical facts followed by inaccurate conclusions. Starting with Alexander Kojéve’s interpretation of Hegel and the concept of human consciousness, Fukuyama, asserts that desire, reason, and thymos (desire for recognition) are the main ingredients that constitute a human, each of which must be satisfied in the society. He claims that the rapid progress in modern science and technology has provided the means for satisfying desire, while leaving the man’s aspiration for recognition unanswered. This is the logic that he implements in explaining the advent of nationalism and communism. He believes that liberal democracy equipped with free market is the only legitimate form of state that can prevent rollbacks in history. In a struggle to support this idea, the author presents various sets of empirical data while refuting the arguments that have been imposed on a capitalist state. Believing in this ideology, it is maintained that the current political and economical state held in most of the developed countries, can gratify the different instincts of human, which leads to an end in the process of sociological evolution of history, thereby resulting in the last man. Although well-written and explained in a detailed format, I believe that the empirical facts are took to mean what the author holds up to. With the emergence of Trump-Brexit movements, one must wait and observe the effectiveness of liberal democracy and free market. Is democracy in its US and European form, as Fukuyama believes, capable of preserving the rights on which it was based in the first place? Jacques Derrida corresponded to Fukuyama’s school of thought: “For it must be cried out, at a time when some have the audacity to neo-evangelize in the name of the ideal of a liberal democracy that has finally realized itself as the ideal of human history: never have violence, inequality, exclusion, famine, and thus economic oppression affected as many human beings in the history of the earth and of humanity. Instead of singing the advent of the ideal of liberal democracy and of the capitalist market in the euphoria of the end of history, instead of celebrating the ‘end of ideologies’ and the end of the great emancipatory discourses, let us never neglect this obvious macroscopic fact, made up of innumerable singular sites of suffering: no degree of progress allows one to ignore that never before, in absolute figures, have so many men, women and children been subjugated, starved or exterminated on the earth.”

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gary Inbinder

    Second reading: Originally read in 1992 The title refers to an odd fusion of Hegelian/Marxian historicism by way of Alexander Kojeve and Nietzsche. Many readers will interpret this book as triumphalist flag-waving for Liberal Democracy's late 20th century triumph over Soviet Socialism. I don't think that's what Fukuyama intended. Wars of aggression, oppression, poverty, plague, famine, prejudice, intolerance, etc. are here and will be for the foreseeable future. We're very much "in history." If t Second reading: Originally read in 1992 The title refers to an odd fusion of Hegelian/Marxian historicism by way of Alexander Kojeve and Nietzsche. Many readers will interpret this book as triumphalist flag-waving for Liberal Democracy's late 20th century triumph over Soviet Socialism. I don't think that's what Fukuyama intended. Wars of aggression, oppression, poverty, plague, famine, prejudice, intolerance, etc. are here and will be for the foreseeable future. We're very much "in history." If there is such a thing as "dialectical materialism" the clash of ideas, worldviews, cultures, and civilizations is ongoing. As for "last men," there are millions who will sacrifice liberty for security, and that will continue to be the case as long what we might call the "human condition" or "human nature" persists. That means forever in human terms, unless we "evolve" into some sort of "super-humans," or cyborgs, or Frankenstein's monsters. Don't hold your breath. I suppose those among us who agree with Fukuyama believe a world made safe for Liberal Globalist Democracy is the "best of all possible worlds" but millions who prefer totalitarianism, racial superiority, nationalism, global socialism, laissez-faire capitalism, oligarchy, plutocracy, theocracy, etc. continue to disagree. And those disagreements inevitably lead to conflicts in culture, economics and politics, subversion, cyber-warfare, repression, aggression, revolutions, coups, civil war, cold war, hot war and genocide. In that regard, I believe Hobbes and Machiavelli had a better understanding of the "human condition" or "human nature" than Fukuyama et. al. If you're on the road to Utopia, better watch out for all those roadblocks, bumps and pot holes, not to mention the land mines and nukes.

  23. 5 out of 5

    prcardi

    Composition: 2/5 Evidence: 2/5 Writing Style: 3/5 Balance: 1/5 This is the book-length project from the author who received widespread attention for proclaiming the end of history with the fall of the Soviet Union. The original quotation made it sound like an exuberant shout, celebrating the victory of Western liberal democracy over Soviet-style communism. It sounded like a comparative politics project or perhaps a comparative ideologies analysis. The context of that quote, published in the 1989 sum Composition: 2/5 Evidence: 2/5 Writing Style: 3/5 Balance: 1/5 This is the book-length project from the author who received widespread attention for proclaiming the end of history with the fall of the Soviet Union. The original quotation made it sound like an exuberant shout, celebrating the victory of Western liberal democracy over Soviet-style communism. It sounded like a comparative politics project or perhaps a comparative ideologies analysis. The context of that quote, published in the 1989 summer edition of The National Interest, made it clear that Fukuyama’s argument was less about current politics or political ideologies than it was about political theory and philosophy. This book develops those ideas in more detail. It is surprising to see that this became a New York Times bestseller. Readers must have leaped to it thinking that it was a victory dance for democracy or a festive wake for communism. Instead what readers got was an in-depth philosophical exposition of the concept of the “end of history.” The concept is less spectacular and teleological than it sounds. The argument is that civilization progresses in such a way that it never goes full circle or has to start anew. It is logical, then, that over the course of history, civilization will gradually shed inferior forms of governance until settling on a final victor; this marks the end of history. This is the main contribution of the book. Not so much the identity of the winner at the end of history but the very philosophical principle of the end of history. The author credits Immanuel Kant with raising the question of whether history had an endpoint, and then details G. W. F. Hegel’s attempt to answer it. This requires extensive review of the contributions of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke and a later turn to Friedrich Nietzsche. What Fukuyama is most successful with is in imposing a pattern on over three hundred years of philosophy. Fukuyama reinterprets all these philosophers as struggling with a similar principle: Plato’s concept of thymos, which Fukuyama generally interprets as “recognition,” though which can also be thought of as spiritedness, distinction, esteem, status, etc. Thus historical man is driven not only by the traditional concerns of “desire” and “reason” but also by “recognition.” As the book progresses, it often forgets to address what readers presumably came to find out about – why democracy is great and why communism is doomed to fail. This is because Fukuyama has to build his argument level by level, and much of it is distantly related to contemporary understandings of current politics. Fukuyama proceeds in steps, first arguing that there is a natural progress to civilization, then that the concept of recognition is important in the history of philosophy, thereafter that the principle of recognition is uniquely satisfied in democracies, and finally that democracy is not simply superior but inherently worthy. The problem for the argument is that each piece is dependent on another and so many of the pieces are unstable. Thus Fukuyama makes some reasonable arguments for why civilization is progressive, but the arguments are simply reasonable, not decisive or even overwhelmingly convincing. The rereading of philosophy to put “recognition” central to questions of the political is very well patched together, but to do so, thymos becomes a huge concept, eliding nuance and distinctions. Though the “state of nature” illustration was a good tool for demonstrating the differences between philosophers, Fukuyama takes the accounts far too literally even after admitting that the philosophers themselves did not take these state of nature positions as historically accurate or true. Fukuyama finally does get around to heralding the benefits of democracy, but he does so without convincing the reader that a) there is a progressive and final endpoint which civilization has long been working toward or b) that “recognition” plays a crucial role in societal development. The book’s primary accomplishment up to that point has been to organize historical political philosophy along an interesting theme. The portions of democracy’s greatness and communism's failings were the weakest portions of the book. Fukuyama makes the terrible error of condemning opposing arguments for their faults and then asking the reader to excuse those same weaknesses in his theory. Thus the failure of communism is due to inherent contradictions in the system, but the inherent contradictions in democracy do not make it a failure. The evidence in these sections is anecdotal and cherry-picked to support his thesis. Despite arguing otherwise, nothing he presents conclusively condemns communism or alternative ideologies. None of it would trouble believers in other political ideologies. Similarly, Fukuyama is not going to win over any converts to democracy with his arguments and evidence. This was the kind of information that the like-minded would love to have collected all in one place, a congratulatory slap on the back for people already in the club. And this might be where and why The End of History and the Last Man attracted readers. In the sections extolling democracy, Fukuyama unveils his conservative credentials. He has some strong arguments against the principle of equality and strong language for social justice programs. Here, again, none of the arguments were decisive, but they were made by a guy with a PhD and who could throw around the ideas of Hegel, Locke, and Nietzsche as if he personally knew them. It is advantageous for the conservative right to have a guy like that on their side. These defenses of traditional and Western principles of democracy were the more spectacular moments in the book, but they were the last pieces on a very high and wobbly tower. This is not a book to read for Cold War politics, understanding political ideology, insightful criticisms of communism, or convincing defenses of democracy. It is a book to read for making sense of Hegel, for imposing a narrative on 16th-19th century philosophy, and for finding a smart guy to agree with you that traditional American democracy is great.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jason Williams

    Is this guy friggin serious? Leave it to a neocon to write such an ahistorical history. I'm reminded of a Frederic Jameson line: "this whole global, yet American, postmodern culture is the internal and superstructural expression of a whole new wave of American military and economic domination throughout the world: in this sense, as throughout class history, the underside of culture is blood, torture, death, and terror."

  25. 4 out of 5

    =====D

    The only interesting thing about this book is how it was so dominant when it came out, with everybody cheering for the conversion of the former "communist" nations to "democracy", and how irrelevant it is now. This guy is kind of an asshole, and his sole accomplishment is that we can gauge which way the ideology of hegemony is pointing by the relative popularity of his cheerleading efforts.

  26. 4 out of 5

    sologdin

    we are at the end of history, apparently, with so-called liberal capitalism. marx was right about method, apparently, but not about result. (cf. Spectres of Marx!)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gregg Wingo

    Fukuyama's seminal work is many things to many people. It is about government, oppression, laws, justice, warfare, economics, etc. But fundamentally it is about pride and vanity in the individual human. The work is focused most about the "desire for recognition" in all of us. Whether it be our simple primate social behavior or the lust of capital accumulation or intellectual acknowledgement or sexual prowess - every member of humankind desires recognition within their community and culture. The Fukuyama's seminal work is many things to many people. It is about government, oppression, laws, justice, warfare, economics, etc. But fundamentally it is about pride and vanity in the individual human. The work is focused most about the "desire for recognition" in all of us. Whether it be our simple primate social behavior or the lust of capital accumulation or intellectual acknowledgement or sexual prowess - every member of humankind desires recognition within their community and culture. The good doctor quotes Plato (or Socrates) on this basic human need and follows the thread down through the ages to Adam Smith in "The Theory of Moral Sentiments": "To be observed, to be attended to, to be taken notice of with sympathy, complacency, and approbation, are all the advantages which we can propose to derive from it. It is vanity, not the ease or the pleasure, which interests us. But vanity is always founded upon the belief of our being the object of attention and approbation. The rich man glories in his riches, because he feels that they naturally draw upon him the attention of the world, and that mankind are disposed to go along with him in all the agreeable emotions with which the advantages of his situation so readily inspire him....The poor man, on the contrary, is ashamed of his poverty. He feels that it either places him out of sight of mankind, or, that if they take any notice of him, they have, however, scarce any fellow-feeling with the misery and distress which he suffers..." Clearly, Fukuyama recognizes the basic drive of individuals such as President Trump, Vladimir Putin, and other "stars" of our global dreamscape. It is this acknowledgement of the need for recognition that drives the argument for liberal democracy as the end form for Man. This system allows the individual to pursue their primacy among their fellow citizenry while allowing others to find their "personal best" in other areas without direct constraint. Freedom is the raison d'etre for the competitive while liberal democracy allows the Other(s) the ability to find their own path and to have a voice in constraining the limitless desires of the powerful. Communism and fascism's totalitarian crushing of the recognitional drive is at the root of their failure as societal systems. Like the ancien regime before them, they devolve into a system of rank and privilege, and like all police states crush the freedom of the individual in exchange for the security of the autocratic state. Fukuyama mines Havel for his brilliant insights into this mechanism and surely could have found further source material from the survivors of fascism and even Kafka on the absolute monarchies of Europe. It is the rule of law that allows the success of liberal democracy and, hence, its loss dooms any nation to failure under this thesis. Fukuyama sees this triumph of liberal democracy over Modernism's offspring (totalitarian systems) the end of history in the sense that these metanarratives no longer stand as alternatives for societal organization. He views Consumerism as the inherent condition of the Last Man, the timeless state at the conclusion of the teleological urge. This Postmodernity is in Fredic Jameson's words the cultural logic of Late Capitalism. Fukuyama even begins to see the concept of the Spectacular as the primary threat to the end of history and the replacement of liberal democracy - and he visualizes the essence of Trumpian politics as an example prior to Trump's interest in politics. On his article, "America: The Failed State", Wikipedia reflects on Fukuyama's previous failure to see the instability that Postmodernism laid upon his argument: "Following Britain's decision to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States in 2016, Fukuyama feared for the future of liberal democracy in the face of resurgent populism, and the rise of a 'post-fact world', saying that 'twenty five years ago, I didn't have a sense or a theory about how democracies can go backward. And I think they clearly can.' He also warned that America's political rot was infecting the world order to the point where it "could be as big as the Soviet collapse". There is much to learn and contemplate in this book even in our twilight of Capitalist Realism.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carl Gladish

    I suppose if I had already read Plato's Republic I would be less impressed by this book, since what I found most enlightening was its interpretation of liberal democracy in terms of the concept of thymos (which, going back to Plato, is to be understood as one part of the tripartite human soul). As Fukuyama understands it, thymos is the esteeming part of a person, the part that ranks and evaluates everything, including itself; reason articulate that things are, but remains neutral; desire seeks it I suppose if I had already read Plato's Republic I would be less impressed by this book, since what I found most enlightening was its interpretation of liberal democracy in terms of the concept of thymos (which, going back to Plato, is to be understood as one part of the tripartite human soul). As Fukuyama understands it, thymos is the esteeming part of a person, the part that ranks and evaluates everything, including itself; reason articulate that things are, but remains neutral; desire seeks its objects without regard to their worth. It is thus thymos that is the root of both self-love and the desire for recognition of one's worth by others. In Fukuyama's account, the "first men" of Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, and (kind of) Rousseau were creatures of thymos, struggling constantly to gain recognition by dominating others. In the prototypical master-slave dialectic (Hegel's term), to become a master over another man is not merely to gain control over his resources--which would merely satisfy the master's desire--but, crucially, it is to engage that man in a life-or-death struggle for power, from which, fearing death, that other man backs down, thereby becoming a slave. The great innovation of liberal democracy, according to Fukuyama, is that it succeeds in subduing mens' preoccupation with the lethal gamesmanship of thymotic struggle, leaving desire and reason to reign. The trick is, in a liberal democracy, men are made formally equal to each other--each being granted the minimal dignity of being a participant in a society ruled by law--and are thereby left to engage their reason in the unlimited pursuit of their objects of desire. Fukuyama thinks it is modern science and technology which makes this unlimited pursuit both practicable and uni-directional (since science builds on itself). Once they set out on this path, their consequent military technological superiority makes liberal democracies basically invulnerable in clashes with pre-scientific societies. Also, the competing "modern" ideology of communism, according to Fukuyama (writing in the early 90s, just after the fall of communism in Europe and the Soviet states), has demonstrated its economic inferiority. Liberal democracy is therefore left standing as the single inevitable endpoint of history. It is remarkable how Fukuyama uses thymos both to explain the stability of liberal democracy and to spell out the hazards that still threaten it, most notably the unsatisfied desire of certain of us bourgeois "last men" to test ourselves, to explore our human freedom, in a lethal struggle for mastery. (Rock climbing and football don't satisfy all glory-seekers, it would seem.) This megalothymia--the desire not just to be equal to others, which liberal democracy offers, but to be superior to others, which it permits only in an economic/materialistic sense--drives some (like Donald Trump, who Fukuyama names explicitly-and remember this is nearly 30 years ago) to either seek individual glory as strongmen or to engage in the collective megalothymia known as nationalism. In some ways, this book is akin to Richard Rorty's Achieving Our Country, particularly in its remarkable prescience and its deeply philosophical political analysis. Fukuyama is clearly more right-leaning then Rorty; while he is mostly admirably dispassionate, not polemical, he occasionally reveals a wont to forgive the free market its flaws and to lose patience with the excessively isothymotic desires of those who would erase all inequality in our society. I don't know, maybe he is right.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Casey

    Francis Fukuyama argues for an end of political history and the victory of liberal democracy following the break up of Russia's sphere of influence. After a century plagued by political experimentation there is one winner, that of a capitalist economy and democratic voting system. As a framework Fukuyama uses the thoughts of Hegel and promotes the opinion that human desire for recognition is the driving force behind human nature. This framework drives Fukuyama's narrative and is used to elucidat Francis Fukuyama argues for an end of political history and the victory of liberal democracy following the break up of Russia's sphere of influence. After a century plagued by political experimentation there is one winner, that of a capitalist economy and democratic voting system. As a framework Fukuyama uses the thoughts of Hegel and promotes the opinion that human desire for recognition is the driving force behind human nature. This framework drives Fukuyama's narrative and is used to elucidate why modern societies progress towards liberal democracy and how at present this is the most successful political system at controlling human immorality. This is a book brimming with ideas about the economy, political philosophy and offers a thought provoking lens through which we can formulate a Universal History. As a reader it is quite clear where Fukuyama stands on the political spectrum and some of his criticisms of left wing politics seemed questionable. In response to the increasing support of the environmental movement Fukuyama sees the elevated well being of animals as arbitrary and questions why certain viruses are not given similar protection, a pretty preposterous line of argument. Again one might be critical of Fukuyama's failure to address some of the more infamous sides of liberal imperialism particularly in its modern economic guise. That being said Fukuyama does make a strong point for a progressive history and for some of its more flamboyant interpretations I was left thinking of old subjects in a new light and for this reason it should rank as essential reading for anyone with an interest in history and politics. One final thought upon completing the book is what the author would say to recent political developments, the economic rise of China, the democratic choice of leaders in liberal democracies and the widening gap between rich and poor. Would the same book be quite so confident in these times?

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    one of my favorite books from high school and arguably requires deeper reflection and thinking as a super-macro topic (all of human history, progress, and sociopolitical organization) as opposed to most of the economics/business books that are popular today. Reading more books on political philosophy like this--especially earlier in life if possible--will give a more balanced and grounded understanding of the micro topics we deal more frequently with in the day-to-day like business, economics, et one of my favorite books from high school and arguably requires deeper reflection and thinking as a super-macro topic (all of human history, progress, and sociopolitical organization) as opposed to most of the economics/business books that are popular today. Reading more books on political philosophy like this--especially earlier in life if possible--will give a more balanced and grounded understanding of the micro topics we deal more frequently with in the day-to-day like business, economics, etc. Fukuyama is intelligent and a good writer but his other books are simply one- or two-month bestsellers buoyed by his existing reputation as a scholar; they are not classics and are not worth reading. This is a little classic. Indispensable to an understanding of the post-Cold War world. It's his best-known work and the one he'll be known for in posterity. It gives important context to the idea of ideological conflict, competition, and advancement. That it was ultimately and quickly proven incorrect only serves to make it more striking as the articulate, elegant, convincing treatise that justified the widely accepted thinking of its time period. The premature triumphalism on the victory of the U.S. over the USSR is immediately relevant for U.S.-China tensions today. Gives critical context that not everything is about trade and money: culture and ideology are in many important ways more fundamental. The key companion text would be Samuel Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations, another classic. If there are any two books on international relations the layperson today reads, it should be these two.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.