- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (Feb. 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0380720027
- ISBN-13: 978-0380720026
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.6 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,009,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The End of History and the Last Man Paperback – Feb 1993
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About the Author
Francis Fukuyama was born in Chicago in 1952. His work includes America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy and After the Neo Cons: Where the Right went Wrong. He now lives in Washington D.C. with his wife and children, where he also works as a part time photographer. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book argues that History ends with Liberal Democracy in the political sphere and the free-market in the economic sphere. Its critics contend that it is merely western triumphalism at the end of the Cold War. However, this book is anything but triumphant. Fukuyama analysis the type of man (hence the second, often over-looked, part of the title “…and the Last Man”) living at the end of History. Fukuyama does not like what he sees: the Last Man has no higher ideals above his own health. He lives solely to prolong his existence. He is risk averse; a weak pitiful creature scared of death.
One reviewer of the book gives it one star because Fukuyama uses the Hegelian historical paradigm. However, this is only half the story because Fukuyama builds two independent, although complementary, views of history’s linearity: one Hegelian the other based on improving technology and increasing scientific knowledge. Hence even if you are not Hegelian you can still largely agree with Fukuyama’s arguments.
This is one of my favourite books and it is impossible to do Fukuyama’s clever, finely balanced juxtaposed arguments justice. I can only recommend reading the book. Finally, because this book embraces so many subjects it has made me want to explore many of the ideas behind the arguments.
The End of History is based on the Hegelian conception of history as the unfolding of Spirit. History, defined by Hegel as the progress of mankind to higher levels of rationality and freedom, terminates in the achievement of full self-consciousness. Fukuyama argues that mankind seems to be making Hegelian progress for two reasons: economics and the need for self-recognition.
1. ECONOMICS. Modern economies need to be rationally organised. Plans need to be made and products produced using rational means. As such, reason and efficiency become the animating features of a modern economy. In the process, rational means of production undermine traditional sources of authority such as clan ties and religion.
2. SELF-RECOGNITION. Various interest groups in a modern country vie for power in order to be 'recognisd'. People, being social creatures, want to have their voices heard. The only system that guarantees that the voices of competing interest groups will indeed be heard is liberal democracy
So far, so good.
The End of History was written at the end of the Cold War when Russia was comatose and China had not yet emerged on the world stage. Fast forward twenty years and the story is different. China is the second-largest economy in the world and is emerging as a counter weight to the West.Read more ›
Fukuyama argues that History (always a capital H) is a Mechanism (capital M) by which liberal democracy overturns a series of irrational and inegalitarian forms of government (feudalism, monarchy, fascism, soviet communism, etc) to ensure the majority of people are provided with an equal opportunity to freely participate in a world of material comfort and mutual security.
Liberal democracy, according to Fukuyama, is the only form of government that rules for the people, as opposed to a range of otherwise authoritarian regimes that govern only to fulfil the megalomaniacal whim of a despot or local oligarchy. Only liberalism allows for the educated and egalitarian society required to rationally maximise the flow of technologies and goods demanded in a post-industrial state. Only democracy can facilitate and regulate all the different businesses and interest groups involved in a complex modern economy. Authoritarian rulers wither away before the task.
But, being a pessimist, Fukuyama doesn't see this as a good thing. The pay-off for stability is domestication, with men becoming hollow creatures addicted to material possessions and unable to aim higher than their lowest-common-denominator set of paper thin values. What man needs most, he says, is dignity and community, the very things that liberal democracy itself has paradoxically undermined through its equalisation of society.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Utterly ludicrous. Devoid of anything worth seriously considering intellectually, other than it's rather impressive (and rather naked) propaganda value - which is all that could... Read morePublished 3 months ago by M.
I totally disagree with this as I am an old socialist but the guy is persuasive and lucid on the merits of a Hegelian reading of historical development - readable, provocative and... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
A much disputed theory nowadays and this is what the star ranking is based on.
Cannot fault the service however.
though I have not yet finished But as it begins it is very interesting book which i will benefit from reading itPublished 15 months ago by Mohamud Dahir
Even if you don't agree with all of Fukuyama's opinions (or even any) one has to admire some of his insights and the clarity of his expression. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Tony Lord