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Francis Fukuyama

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Francis Fukuyama

Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama
image from podcast
Born (1952-10-27) October 27, 1952
Chicago, Illinois, U.S
Institutions Stanford University
Johns Hopkins University
Main interests
Developing nations
International political economy
Nation-building and democratization
Strategic and security issues
Notable ideas
End of history

Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama (born October 27, 1952) is an American political scientist, political economist, and author. Fukuyama is known for his book The End of History and the Last Man (1992), which argued that the worldwide spread of liberal democracies and free market capitalism of the West and its lifestyle may signal the end point of humanity's sociocultural evolution and become the final form of human government. However, his subsequent book Trust: Social Virtues and Creation of Prosperity (1995) modified his earlier position to acknowledge that culture cannot be cleanly separated from economics. Fukuyama is also associated with the rise of the neoconservative movement,[2] from which he has since distanced himself.[3]

Fukuyama has been a Senior Fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at

  • Francis Fukuyama's blog at The American Interest
  • Islam and America... Friends or Foes?
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
    • , February 9, 1992The End of History and the Last Man interview with Fukuyama on Booknotes
  • ANU Public Lecture Series MP3 of a public lecture by Fukuyama titled The Missing Dimension of Stateness delivered at The Australian National University, December 15, 2006
  • Francis Fukuyama explains his last book: "The Origins of Political Order"

External links

  1. ^
  2. ^ Thies, Clifford (2011-06-24) The Constitution of LibertyThe End of Hystery? Francis Fukuyama's Review of , Mises Institute
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b
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  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ a b c d e f g
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^ a b c d e f g
  12. ^ Dahrendorf (1990) Reflections on the revolution in Europe p. 37
  13. ^ Luciano Canfora La grande illusione del capitalismo eterno preface to Ercolani, Paolo La storia infinita. Marx, il liberalismo e la maledizione di Nietzsche quotation:
  14. ^
  15. ^ 'Francis Fukuyama, "Reflections on the End of History, Five Years Later", History and Theory 34, 2: "World Historians and Their Critics" (May 1995): 43.
  16. ^ 'Francis Fukuyama, "Reflections on the End of History, Five Years Later", History and Theory 34, 2: World Historians and Their Critics (May 1995): 36.
  17. ^ For a critical analysis of Fukuyama's bioethical argument, see:
  18. ^
  19. ^ Irving Kristol (1972), On the Democratic Idea in America, New York: Harper.
  20. ^
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  22. ^ a b
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  25. ^ a b c d
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  28. ^ a b
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ The End of History, and Back Again, The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved on 2008-05-27.
  33. ^ Pyle Center for Northeast Asian Studies, the National Bureau of Asian Research.
  34. ^


See also

  • The End of History?, The National Interest, Summer 1989
  • Women and the Evolution of World Politics, Foreign Affairs October 1998
  • Immigrants and Family Values, The Immigration Reader 1998. ISBN 1-55786-916-2
  • Human Nature and the Reconstruction of Social Order, The Atlantic Monthly, May 1999
  • Social capital and civil society, paper prepared for delivery at the International Monetary Fund Conference on Second Generation Reforms, October 1, 1999
  • The neoconservative moment, The National Interest, Summer 2004
  • After neoconservatism, The New York Times Magazine, February 19, 2006
  • Supporter's voice now turns on Bush, The New York Times Magazine, March 14, 2006
  • Why shouldn't I change my mind?, Los Angeles Times, April 9, 2006
  • The Fall of America, Inc. Newsweek, October 13, 2008
  • The New Nationalism and the Strategic Architecture of Northeast Asia Asia Policy January 2007
  • Left Out, The American Interest, January 2011
  • Is China Next?, The Wall Street Journal, March 12, 2011
  • The Future of History; Can Liberal Democracy Survive the Decline of the Middle Class?, Foreign Affairs, January/February 2012
  • What is Governance? Governance (journal), March 2013


  • The End of History and the Last Man. Free Press, 1992. ISBN 0-02-910975-2
  • Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity. Free Press, 1995. ISBN 0-02-910976-0
  • The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order. Free Press. 1999. ISBN 0-684-84530-X
  • Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2002. ISBN 0-374-23643-7
  • State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st century. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 2004. ISBN 0-8014-4292-3
  • America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. 2006. ISBN 0-300-11399-4 US edition
    After the Neo Cons: Where the Right went Wrong. London: Profile Books. 2006. ISBN 1-86197-922-3 UK edition
  • Falling Behind: Explaining the Development Gap between Latin America and the United States (editor). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0-19-536882-6
  • The Origins of Political Order. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2011. ISBN 978-1-846-68256-8
  • Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2014. ISBN 978-0-374-22735-7


Selected bibliography

See also

Fukuyama is married to Laura Holmgren, whom he met when she was a UCLA graduate student after he started working for the RAND Corporation.[8][11] He dedicated his book Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity to her. They live in California, with their three children, Julia, David, and John away in school.

Fukuyama is a part-time photographer. He also has a keen interest in early-American furniture, which he reproduces by hand.[34] He is keenly interested in sound recording and reproduction, saying, "These days I seem to spend as much time thinking about gear as I do analyzing politics for my day job."[25]

Personal life

  • Between 2006 and 2008, Fukuyama advised Muammar Gaddafi as part of the Monitor Group, a consultancy firm based in Cambridge, MA.[30]
  • In August 2005, Fukuyama co-founded The American Interest, a quarterly magazine devoted to the broad theme of "America in the World". He is currently chairman of the editorial board.[11]
  • Fukuyama was a member of the RAND Corporation's Political Science Department from 1979 to 1980, 1983 to 1989, and 1995 to 1996. He is now a member of the Board of Trustees.[11]
  • Fukuyama was a member of the President's Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2004.[11]
  • Fukuyama is a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS).
  • Fukuyama is on the steering committee for the Scooter Libby Legal Defense Trust.[31] Fukuyama is a long-time friend of Libby. They served together in the State Department in the 1980s.
  • During the 2008 Presidential Election, Fukuyama endorsed Democratic candidate Barack Obama who went on to win the Presidential Election.[32]
  • Fukuyama is a member of the Board of Counselors for the Pyle Center of Northeast Asian Studies at the National Bureau of Asian Research.[33]
  • Fukuyama is on the board of Global Financial Integrity.
  • Fukuyama is on the executive board of the Inter-American Dialogue.


I'm voting for Barack Obama this November for a very simple reason. It is hard to imagine a more disastrous presidency than that of George W. Bush. It was bad enough that he launched an unnecessary war and undermined the standing of the United States throughout the world in his first term. But in the waning days of his administration, he is presiding over a collapse of the American financial system and broader economy that will have consequences for years to come. As a general rule, democracies don't work well if voters do not hold political parties accountable for failure. While John McCain is trying desperately to pretend that he never had anything to do with the Republican Party, I think it would be a travesty to reward the Republicans for failure on such a grand scale.

Fukuyama endorsed Barack Obama in the 2008 US presidential election. He states:[29]

[W]ar is the wrong metaphor for the broader struggle, since wars are fought at full intensity and have clear beginnings and endings. Meeting the jihadist challenge is more of a "long, twilight struggle" [quoting John F. Kennedy's inaugural address] whose core is not a military campaign but a political contest for the hearts and minds of ordinary Muslims around the world.

Fukuyama announced the end of the neoconservative moment and argued for the demilitarization of the War on Terrorism:[28]

believed that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will. Leninism was a tragedy in its Bolshevik version, and it has returned as farce when practiced by the United States. Neoconservatism, as both a political symbol and a body of thought, has evolved into something I can no longer support.

In a 2006 essay in The New York Times Magazine strongly critical of the invasion, he identified neoconservatism with Leninism. He wrote that neoconservatives:[28]

The US should instead stimulate political and economic development and gain a better understanding of what happens in other countries. The best instruments are setting a good example and providing education and, in many cases, money. The secret of development, be it political or economic, is that it never comes from outsiders, but always from people in the country itself. One thing the US proved to have excelled in during the aftermath of World War II was the formation of international institutions. A return to support for these structures would combine American power with international legitimacy. But such measures require a lot of patience. This is the central thesis of his 2006 work America at the Crossroads.

Fukuyama believes the US has a right to promote its own values in the world, but more along the lines of what he calls "realistic Wilsonianism", with military intervention only as a last resort and only in addition to other measures. A latent military force is more likely to have an effect than actual deployment. The US spends 43% of global military spending,[27] but Iraq shows there are limits to its effectiveness.

  • Overstating the threat of radical Islam to the US
  • Failing to foresee the fierce negative reaction to its "benevolent hegemony". From the very beginning showing a negative attitude toward the United Nations and other anti-Americanism in other countries
  • Misjudging what was needed to bring peace in Iraq and being overly optimistic about the success with which social engineering of western values could be applied to Iraq and the Middle East in general.

Fukuyama declared he would not be voting for Bush,[26] and that the Bush administration had made three major mistakes:

At an annual dinner of the American Enterprise Institute in February 2004, Dick Cheney and Charles Krauthammer declared the beginning of a unipolar era under American hegemony. "All of these people around me were cheering wildly,"[25] Fukuyama remembers. He believes that the Iraq War was being blundered. "All of my friends had taken leave of reality."[25] He has not spoken to Paul Wolfowitz (previously a good friend) since.[25]

Fukuyama began to distance himself from the neoconservative agenda of the Bush administration, citing its overly militaristic basis and embrace of unilateral armed intervention, particularly in the Middle East. By late 2003, Fukuyama had voiced his growing opposition to the Iraq War[23] and called for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation as Secretary of Defense.[24]

Fukuyama's current views

In a New York Times article from February 2006, Fukuyama, in considering the ongoing Iraq War, stated: "What American foreign policy needs is not a return to a narrow and cynical realism, but rather the formulation of a 'realistic Wilsonianism' that better matches means to ends."[22] In regard to neoconservatism he went on to say: "What is needed now are new ideas, neither neoconservative nor realist, for how America is to relate to the rest of the world – ideas that retain the neoconservative belief in the universality of human rights, but without its illusions about the efficacy of American power and hegemony to bring these ends about."[22]

As a key September 11, 2001 attacks that suggested the U.S. not only "capture or kill Osama bin Laden", but also embark upon "a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq".[21]


In 2008, Fukuyama published the book Falling Behind: Explaining the Development Gap Between Latin America and the United States, which resulted from research and a conference funded by Grupo Mayan to gain understanding on why Latin America, once far wealthier than North America, fell behind in terms of development in only a matter of centuries. Discussing this book at a 2009 conference, Fukuyama outlined his belief that inequality within Latin American nations is a key impediment to growth. An unequal distribution of wealth, he stated, leads to social upheaval, which then results in stunted growth.[18]

In 2006, in America at the Crossroads, Fukuyama discusses the history of neoconservatism, with particular focus on its major tenets and political implications. He outlines his rationale for supporting the Bush administration, as well as where he believes it has gone wrong.

In another work, The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstruction of Social Order, Fukuyama explores the origins of social norms, and analyses the current disruptions in the fabric of our moral traditions, which he considers as arising from a shift from the manufacturing to the information age. This shift is, he thinks, normal and will prove self-correcting, given the intrinsic human need for social norms and rules.

Fukuyama has written a number of other books, among them Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity and Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution. In the latter, he qualified his original "end of history" thesis, arguing that since biotechnology increasingly allows humans to control their own evolution, it may allow humans to alter human nature, thereby putting liberal democracy at risk.[17] One possible outcome could be that an altered human nature could end in radical inequality. He is a fierce enemy of transhumanism, an intellectual movement asserting that posthumanity is a desirable goal.

One of the main reasons for the massive criticism against The End of History was the aggressive stance that it took towards postmodernism. Postmodern philosophy had, in Fukuyama's opinion, undermined the ideology behind liberal democracy, leaving the western world in a potentially weaker position.[15] The fact that Marxism and fascism had been proven untenable for practical use while liberal democracy still thrived was reason enough to embrace the hopeful attitude of the Progressive era, as this hope for the future was what made a society worth struggling to maintain. Postmodernism, which, by this time, had become embedded in the cultural consciousness, offered no hope and nothing to sustain a necessary sense of community, instead relying only on lofty intellectual premises.[16] Being a work that both praised the ideals of a group that had fallen out of favor and challenged the premises of the group that had replaced them, it was bound to create some controversy.

Authors like Ralf Dahrendorf argued in 1990 that the essay gave Fukuyama his 15 minutes of fame, which will be followed by a slide into obscurity.[12][13] He continued to remain a relevant and cited public intellectual leading American communitarian Amitai Etzioni to declare him "one of the few enduring public intellectuals. They are often media stars who are eaten up and spat out after their 15 minutes. But he has lasted."[14]

What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such.... That is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.

Fukuyama is best known as the author of The End of History and the Last Man, in which he argued that the progression of human history as a struggle between ideologies is largely at an end, with the world settling on liberal democracy after the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Fukuyama predicted the eventual global triumph of political and economic liberalism:


Fukuyama was the Omer L. and Nancy Hirst Professor of Public Policy in the School of Public Policy at Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy and Director of the International Development Program at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. He is now Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow and resident in the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University.[11]

Fukuyama has been affiliated with the Telluride Association since his undergraduate years at Cornell, an education enterprise that was home to other significant leaders and intellectuals, including Steven Weinberg, Paul Wolfowitz and Kathleen Sullivan.

Fukuyama received his Bachelor of Arts degree in classics from Cornell University, where he studied political philosophy under Allan Bloom.[8][11] He initially pursued graduate studies in comparative literature at Yale University, going to Paris for six months to study under Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida, but became disillusioned and switched to political science at Harvard University.[8] There, he studied with Samuel P. Huntington and Harvey Mansfield, among others. He earned his Ph.D. in political science at Harvard for his thesis on Soviet threats to intervene in the Middle East.[8][11] In 1979, he joined the global policy think tank RAND Corporation.[8]


Francis Fukuyama was born in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. His paternal grandfather fled the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 and started a shop on the west coast before being interned in the Second World War.[6] His father, Yoshio Fukuyama, a second-generation Japanese-American, was trained as a minister in the Congregational Church, received a doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago, and taught religious studies.[7][8][9] His mother, Toshiko Kawata Fukuyama, was born in Kyoto, Japan, and was the daughter of Shiro Kawata, founder of the Economics Department of Kyoto University and first president of Osaka City University.[10] Francis grew up in Manhattan as an only child, had little contact with Japanese culture, and did not learn Japanese.[7][8] His family moved to State College, Pennsylvania in 1967.[10]

Early life


  • Early life 1
  • Education 2
  • Writings 3
    • Neoconservatism 3.1
    • Fukuyama's current views 3.2
  • Affiliations 4
  • Personal life 5
  • See also 6
  • Selected bibliography 7
    • Books 7.1
    • Essays 7.2
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

He is a council member of the International Forum for Democratic Studies founded by the National Endowment for Democracy and was a member of the Political Science Department of the RAND Corporation.[5]


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