State Development: Fukuyama Returns

FF is irritatingly hard to ignore. So take a look at his attempt to emulate his advisor Sam Huntington in his opus “Origins of Political Order”</object>

The basic point:

“Most of “The Origins of Political Order” is devoted to telling the story of how the state, the rule of law and accountability happened to evolve independently in different societies, before their combination in 18th-century Britain. Having been accused of determinism by some critics of his earlier work, Fukuyama emphasizes the role of contingency. The origins of modern political institutions were “complex and context-specific.” For example, the decline in importance of extended families in early modern Europe, which resulted in part from the power of the medieval church, meant that “an emerging capitalist economy in Italy, England and the Netherlands in the 16th century did not have to overcome the resistance of large corporately organized kinship groups with substantial property to protect, as in India and China.”

Fukuyama rejects reductionist attempts to explain political and social institutions as mere epiphenomena of underlying economic or technological structures. “It is impossible to develop any meaningful theory of political development without treating ideas as fundamental causes of why societies differ and follow distinct development paths.” (NY Times review)


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