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Fukuyama history of history

Francis_fukuyama1_large Today's New York Times has an interesting article on Francis Fukuyama's upcoming book, "The Origins of Political Order." 

Fukuyama's book has already attracted a lot of attention in academic circles for the audacious sweep of its narrative. It traces the evolution of human social structures from prehistoric times to the French Revolution.  

A planned second volume will take the story to modern times (which he famously termed "the end of history," meaning the victory of liberal democracy over communism).  

Although Fukuyama builds on concepts developed by people like E. O. Wilson, he is less interested in our biological evolution than our cultural development. I haven't been among the privileged few to read the manuscript, but Fukuyama apparently traces the path of our social structures from kin-based bands of hunter-gatherers to larger tribes which incorporated unrelated people and finally to "states" which were better able than tribes to survive the death of a leader because they depended more on rules than personal influence.

Fukuyama believes the transition from clan to tribe and from tribe to state was affected by things like geography and climate, and especially by the order in which the different components of the state develop, e.g., the rule of law, civil society, etc.  So the Islamic world has taken a different path than the West.  

It's an interesting theory, and I think recent learnings in the evolution of social psychology tend to support it. I wonder if the second volume will explore how non-state institutions, like NGOs and multi-national corporations, fit into the story he has developed. He believes states succeeded tribes because they were better at warfare.  Could non-state actors have an advantage over states because they're better at peace?

 

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