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Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy Paperback – October 13, 2015

4.6 out of 5 stars 192 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint edition (October 13, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374535620
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374535629
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 45.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A mess - the world, not the book which is excellent. In The End of History and the Last Man Dr. Fukuyama asked the question "is there a direction to political evolution?" In Trust: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order he explored the impact of high trust vs low trust societies on the evolution and nature of political governance. In his tour de force The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution we were given an in depth history of political development across many nations and regions. In it Dr. Fukuyama postulates that effective governance requires three sets of political institutions in some kind of balance: the state, the rule of law, and political accountability. In Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy he left me with the feeling that such an outcome (sustained effective governance) was "to dream the impossible dream."

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Francis Fukuyama is a widely celebrated political economist, and public intellectual. Having burst onto the scene with his classic work at the End of the Cold War, The End of History and the Last Man (1992), Fukuyama has since distanced and even repudiated the neoconservative label that was pinned on him in the lead-up to the Iraq War. In Political Order and Political Decay, Fukuyama brings the history of politics and governance into the modern era.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Francis Fukuyama of "The End of History and the Last Man" fame has written a lengthy history of comparative government from 1800 to the modern era. In Political Order he discusses why certain governments succeed while others fail. His sweep covers the globe from Europe to the Americas, to Asia and to Africa. Though too long the narrative is breathtaking.

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.
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