Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fukuyama, The Origins of Political Order

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently ran a nice piece on Francis Fukuyama (Stanford University) and his latest project, The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution. The article, by Evan Goldstein, is part review, part interview.

Here's a taste of the review:
Francis Fukuyama has been accused of many things—triumphalism, utopianism, warmongering—but never a lack of ambition. True to form, his new book, The Origins of Political Order (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), doesn't limit itself to the whole of human history. Rather, it begins in prehuman times and concludes on the eve of the American and French Revolutions. Along the way, Fukuyama mines the fields of anthropology, archaeology, biology, evolutionary psychology, economics, and, of course, political science and international relations to establish a framework for understanding the evolution of political institutions. And that's just Volume One. The next installment, not due for several years, will bring the story up to the present. At the center of the project is a fundamental question: Why do some states succeed while others collapse?
And the interview:
"I've been trying to move beyond The End of History ever since I wrote the book," Fukuyama says with weary patience. "But no matter what I write, everyone wants to ask me about it."
The full article is here.

You can read more on Fukuyama and The Origins of Political Order here, at the Daily Beast, and here, at the New York Times.

Image credits: Cover, Fukuyama.