Saturday, May 24, 2014
The End of History and The Last Man by Francis Fukuyama
Author: Francis Fukuyama
Original Publication Date: 1992
"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 so called "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.