Over at Equitable Growth: It is quite clear that history has not evolved over the past 25 years ago as Francis Fukuyama thought it would back when he proclaimed its end. The inadequate and disappointing North Atlantic response to the fall of the Berlin Wall plus the failures of "transition"; the coming of a new set of wars of religion, hot, lukewarm, and cold; the failure of "convergence" in emerging economies outside of the Big Two, China and India; Japan's two lost decades; America's and Europe's (so far) one lost decade; the upward-spiral in North Atlantic income and wealth inequality to Gilded Age heights. READ MOAR:
Failures of emerging-market governance to surmount corruption. Failures of North Atlantic representative democratic governance to strike a proper balance between representing the values of the people, achieving the compromises and adjustments necessary for effective functioning, and implementing technocratic wisdom. Weimar Russia, feeling with justice that it has been mal-treated by the North Atlantic (when and how will we repay the debt we owe the tankers of Stalingrad, the peasants who fed them, and the workers of Magnitogorsk who built their machines?). Wilhelmine China, with a ruling elite that has lost its social role and ideological legitimization seeking to remain on top by busying giddy minds with foreign quarrels. And what some more informed than I fear will become a National Hinduist India.
The consequences has been a world potentially richer by far than in any previous generation, yet also one in which we feel that the gap between potential and accomplishment is larger than before, and in which we have little confidence that that gap will close in the future.
Nevertheless, Francis Fukuyama urges us to an optimism--if not, perhaps, of the intellect, at least of the will:
Francis Fukuyama: 25 Years After Tiananmen Square, Liberal Democracy Still Stands: "The year 2014 feels very different from 1989. Russia is a menacing electoral authoritarian regime fueled by petrodollars.... China remains authoritarian but now has the second-largest economy in the world.... Global stability is being threatened at both ends of Eurasia.... Take Thailand, whose frayed political fabric gave way last month to a military coup, or Bangladesh, whose system remains in thrall to two corrupt political machines. Many countries that seemed to have made successful democratic transitions—Turkey, Sri Lanka, Nicaragua—have been backsliding.... And then there are the developed democracies. Both the U.S. and the European Union experienced severe financial crises....
It is important not to get carried away.... In 1974... there were only about 35 electoral democracies.... Democracy has always rested on a broad middle class, and the ranks of prosperous, property-holding citizens have ballooned everywhere in the past generation.... While we may worry about authoritarian trends in Russia, Thailand or Nicaragua, all of these countries were unambiguous dictatorships in the 1970s.... The Arab Spring doesn't look like it will yield a real democracy anywhere but... Tunisia. Still, it is likely to mean more responsive Arab politics.... In the realm of ideas... liberal democracy still doesn't have any real competitors.... There are many reasons to think that the China model isn't sustainable....
Americans, more than other people, often fail to understand the need for effective government.... George W. Bus... seemed to believe that democratic government and a market-oriented economy would spontaneously emerge in Iraq.... The inability to govern effectively extends, unfortunately, to the U.S. itself. Our Madisonian Constitution... has become a vetocracy.... No one living in an established democracy should be complacent.... But... the power of the democratic ideal remains immense... from Tunis to Kiev to Istanbul... millions... desperate to move each year from places like Guatemala City or Karachi to Los Angeles or London. Even as we raise questions about how soon everyone will get there, we should have no doubt as to what kind of society lies at the end of History.