Format: Trade Paperback
Dimensions: 608 pages, 8.21 × 5.5 × 1.6 in
Published: March 27, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus And Giroux
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0374533229
ISBN - 13: 9780374533229
About the Book
Fukuyama, author of the bestselling "The End of History and the Last Man" and one of the world's most important political thinkers, provides a sweeping account of how today's basic political institutions developed in the first of a major two-volume work.
Read from the Book
Origins of Political Order PART ONE Before the State 1 THE NECESSITY OF POLITICS The third wave of democratization and contemporary anxieties about the future of contemporary liberal democracy; how both the Left and the Right entertain fantasies about the abolition of government; how contemporary developing countries represent the fulfillment of these fantasies; how we take institutions for granted but in fact have no idea where they come from During the forty-year period from 1970 to 2010, there was an enormous upsurge in the number of democracies around the world. In 1973, only 45 of the world''s 151 countries were counted as "free" by Freedom House, a nongovernmental organization that produces quantitative measures of civil and political rights for countries around the world.1 That year, Spain, Portugal, and Greece were dictatorships; the Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellites looked like strong and cohesive societies; China was caught up in Mao Zedong''s Cultural Revolution; Africa saw the consolidation of rule by a group of corrupt "presidents for life"; and most of Latin America had fallen under military dictatorship. The following generation saw momentous political change, with democracies and market-oriented economies spreading in virtually every part of the world except for the Arab Middle East. By the late 1990s, some 120 countries around the world--more than 60 percent of the world''s independent states--had become electoral democracies.2 This transformat
From the Publisher
A New York Times Notable Book for 2011
A Globe and Mail Best Books of the Year 2011 Title
A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction of 2011 title
Virtually all human societies were once organized tribally, yet over time most developed new political institutions which included a central state that could keep the peace and uniform laws that applied to all citizens. Some went on to create governments that were accountable to their constituents. We take these institutions for granted, but they are absent or are unable to perform in many of today’s developing countries—with often disastrous consequences for the rest of the world.
Francis Fukuyama, author of the bestselling The End of History and the Last Man and one of our most important political thinkers, provides a sweeping account of how today’s basic political institutions developed. The first of a major two-volume work, The Origins of Political Order begins with politics among our primate ancestors and follows the story through the emergence of tribal societies, the growth of the first modern state in China, the beginning of the rule of law in India and the Middle East, and the development of political accountability in Europe up until the eve of the French Revolution.
Drawing on a vast body of knowledge—history, evolutionary biology, archaeology, and economics—Fukuyama has produced a brilliant, provocative work that offers fresh insights on the origins of democratic societies and raises essential questions about the nature of politics and its discontents.
About the Author
Francis Fukuyama is the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. He has previously taught at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University and at the George Mason University School of Public Policy. He was a researcher at the RAND Corporation and served as the deputy director in the State Department’s policy planning staff. He is the author of The End of History and the Last Man, Trust, and America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy. He lives with his wife in California.
“Ambitious and highly readable.”— The New Yorker “Political theorist Francis Fukuyama’s new book is a major accomplishment, likely to find its place among the works of seminal thinkers like Jean-Jacques Rousseau and John Locke, and modern moral philosophers and economists such as John Rawls and Amartya Sen . . .It is a perspective and a voice that can supply a thinker’s tonic for our current political maladies.”—Earl Pike, The Cleveland Plain Dealer “An intellectual triumph—bold in scope, sound in judgment, and rich in provocations; in short, a classic.”—Ian Morris, Slate “A sweeping survey that tries to explain why human beings act as they do in the political sphere. Magisterial in its learning and admirably immodest in its ambition.”—David Gress, The Wall Street Journal “In many respects, Fukuyama is an ideal guide for this enormous undertaking. He combines a deep expertise in political institutions with an impressive familiarity of world history, philosophy and social theory. An engaging writer, his prose crackles with sharp observations and illuminating comparisons, and the book marshals a breathtaking array of stimulating facts and provocative generalizations. Who knew, for instance, that the tsetse fly retarded the spread of Islam into sub-Saharan Africa? Simply as a compendium of fascinating minutiae and social science theory, the book offers a treasure