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Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy Paperback – October 13, 2015
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“Straightforward and sensible . . . Fukuyama is nothing if not ambitious.” ―Sheri Berman, The New York Times Book Review
“It is not often that a 600-page work of political science ends with a cliffhanger. But the first volume of Francis Fukuyama's epic two-part account of what makes political societies work, published three years ago, left the big question unanswered . . . Political Order and Political Decay is his answer . . . Fukuyama's wealth of insights [are] worthy of the greatest writers about democracy.” ―David Runciman, Financial Times
“Political Order and Political Decay is a courageous book by an author at the peak of his analytical and literary powers. This project started as an attempt to rewrite and update Samuel Huntington's classic Political Order in Changing Societies, published in 1968. Yet Fukuyama has what Huntington sorely lacked, namely the ability to communicate complex ideas through engaging prose. He's both a perceptive political analyst and a wonderful storyteller. Clearly, something has indeed gone haywire in our world: Serious political science is not supposed to be so enjoyable.” ―Gerard de Groot, The Washington Post
“[A] monumental study [that] rest[s] on an astonishing body of learning.” ―The Economist
“Fukuyama has been both a policy maker and adviser . . . His latest opus [seeks] to clarify the fundamental problems of political order.” ―David Polansky, Wall Street Journal
“Fukuyama's brilliant work on political orders [is] cogent, clear, and often intellectually thrilling account of the development of the state . . . There is simply no way to do full justice in a review.” ―Zach Dorfman, The Los Angeles Review of Books
“This and the earlier volume, viewed as a single work, will remain vital contributions to the literature on democracy and government for some time to come.” ―Earl Pike, Plain Dealer
“Fukuyama has succeeded in proving, with a formidable display of erudition, that anyone who wants to reform American democracy had better start by reading his latest book.” ―Michael Ignatieff, The Atlantic
“Learned and lucid, Political Order and Political Decay is jam-packed with insights about political development.” ―Glenn C. Altschuler, San Francisco Chronicle
“This bold political scientist limns the transformation of societies politically galvanized by eighteenth-century revolutions and financially enriched by nineteenth-century industry . . . Strikingly ambitious and provocative.” ―Booklist (starred review)
“[Fukuyama's] superb synthesis of political science and history will be useful to experts as well as students and laypeople.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Th[is] deeply engaged political scientist offers a compelling historical overview . . . Systematic, thorough and even hopeful fodder for reform-minded political observers.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
About the Author
Francis Fukuyama is the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. He has previously taught at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University and at the George Mason University School of Public Policy. Fukuyama was a researcher at the RAND Corporation and served on the State Department's Policy Planning Staff. He is the author of The Origins of Political Order, The End of History and the Last Man, Trust, and America at the Crossroads, among other books. He lives with his wife in California.
Top Customer Reviews
Parts I and II discuss the "State" and "Foreign Influence." In an excellent historical overview he demonstrates that what would appear to be similar circumstances lead to disparate outcomes. Much less than in previous works Dr.Read more ›
With an erudite overview of the evolution of the political state, especially of "liberal democracy," upon which the tenets of accountable government (trust), equality of the citizenry, and the rule of law are paramount in the development of democracy. Democracy is not necessarily an engine for these three themes, rather, these three tenets come together to build a robust democracy. The result is the emergence of the political state.
This first tenet, accountable government, or trust, was an entire book in of itself, Trust: The Social Virtues and The Creation of Prosperity (1995). The notion of accountability is not necessarily, again, tied to democracy in-of-itself, but is an important feature that has historically spurred greater democratic reform. Therefore, trust in government, and ultimately trust within a society and amongst peoples of that society, is an important feature of the liberal democratic state. Fukuyama deals with this tenet in the first part of his book. He sheds important insight how trust in government has allowed bureaucracy to flourish and politicians and statesmen to build the modern state.Read more ›
His thesis is that successful governance requires a coherent state, laws that are equally enforced and system of accountability, usually, but necessarily through elections. Weak governance gets one or all three of these factors wrong, Fukuyama although in many ways quite conservative, is political progressive in the early 20th Century sense in that a successful state needs a highly trained impartial bureaucracy. Examples of such are the U.S. between 1900- 1950, Germany and England in the 19th century. To be sure bureaucracies that become too independent can go out of control. His example of this is the German military on the eve of World War 1.
On the other hand there can be too much accountability. In this instance he highlights the role of interest groups in the U.S. who in total possess veto power over what the state can do, a "vetocracy" if you will.
Fukuyama's book should be read in conjunction with Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson's "Why Nations Fail." Simply put both argue that the success of rent seeking clienteles have the power corrupt government for their own ends.
Although "Political Order..." is a great text, it is a tough read for the lay reader, hence four stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have not read the first and previous two volumes before reading this one. This is a great work, and enlightened my vision in politics and history. Read morePublished 24 days ago
This is a fascinating analysis of the evolution of political systems through time. Much easier to digest than the first volume, but like the first volume, emphasizes that... Read morePublished 1 month ago by D. Vernon
I bought this book aong with another by the same author. It was recommended to me by a history degree graduate. Read morePublished 1 month ago by kathleen
Having covered the development of a myriad of different forms of political organization from roughly the second millennium BCE up to the eve of the Industrial Revolution beginning... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Trevor Rystrom
A rich global voyage well worth taking
By Martin E. Gold on October 30, 2016
“Political development…must be studied in its full historical context. Read more