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3.0 out of 5 stars Well written and flawed, so business as usual for Fukuyama, 5 Oct. 2007
Lark (North Coast of Ireland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order (Paperback)
While another great literary work, well written in plain english, setting the findings of recent research and intellectual trends in context with earlier anglo-saxon, or classical liberal and early conservative, conclusions/thinking this is again a deeply flawed piece of work.

As with every other book Fukuyama has written there's a positively Conservative bias, while ranging across sociological, political and economic thought Marx, Weber or anyone from those schools are thought are highly conspicious by their abscence, while Smith, Hobbes, Locke and Burke, the iconoclised and hero worshiped thinkers of classical liberalism and early conservativism are totall lionised and praised at length.

The book's essential premise is that the transition to an information age and economy, were all depends upon knowledge, has been a drastic and disruptive change to society, something on a par with the industrial revolution at its convention shattering height.

To be honest I'm deeply unsure about some of the first principles of this argument, for instance while some nations are experiencing a transition to an information age and knowledge and skills based economies others are experiencing transitions to industrial economies and still others are stranded in agrarianism, its just how the global carve up of nations into factory, farm and financial districts/sectors is going.

Fukuyama then proceeds to examine arguments about the production and destruction of social capital, whether or not present societies are expending social captial without producing more and other cultural contradictions of capitalism which other theorists suggest threaten its existence. This section of the book is very well reasoned indeed, explaining how altruism and enlightened self-interest operate in tandem or how altruistic deeds ultimately serve a selfish end.

Its just a pleasure to read, clever and an antidote to gloomy commentary BUT the evidence of recent financial corrections in the US and their reverberation around the world, necessitating government rescues and bail outs are bound to contradict the most well reasoned account of selfishness paying social dividends or translating into the common good.

If you like Fukuyama's other books you'll like this one, I prefer it to his other books and find its less obviously polemical.
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