the 1989 summer issue of the obscure magazine the National Interest contained an unexpected kioskvältare. Francis Fukuyama, until an anonymous political scientist and official at the us state department, noted that there was something in the air: In communist Hungary and Poland was a democracy about to be introduced, under Mikhail Gorbachev's leadership went to the Soviet union through a process of economic and political reforms, at the same time was the thaw between Moscow and Washington. The cold war was coming to an end.
But Fukuyama delivered not only a reconnaissance, without an explanation. The reason for the conflict between east and west was being held was that the actual ”end of history” came, he argued in his essay of the same name.
intense idealism, which explicitly rejected the historical materialism constitutes the essence of marxism. The ideologies which characterize the societies of communism, fascism, feudalism – gives rise to the categories of ruler and servant; the contradiction between them is what generates the reforms and revolutions, he said. The terminus is liberalism. By making people equal in their freedom to create a society free from sharp conflicts and driving forces for system change.
" anstående victory in the communist countries disappeared not only the contradictions within them, but also between the west and the east. Citizens of democratic states saw each other as equals, even across national borders, not enemies. With the end of history reached therefore the cold war.
In Berlin was demolished, literally, the wall that divided east and west. Soon it was the actual Soviet union dissolved. And during the following decade, the spread of democracy and free markets across the world.
the Essay – peppery, with references to the German philosopher Hegel, was a resounding success. In the summer of 1989, sold the National Interest ”better than porn”, according to a newspaper seller in Washington DC. Fukuyama was portrayed in the New York Times Magazine.
in Addition, he seemed to get right. In the autumn of 1989 there was velvet revolution in Prague. In Berlin was demolished, literally, the wall that divided east and west. Soon it was the actual Soviet union dissolved. And during the following decade, the spread of democracy and free markets across the world. International institutions such as the UN and the WTO got a boost, while the idea of universal human rights conquered the new land.
it is no longer particularly original to point out that the story has taken off again. Brexit, Trump and a högerpopulistisk wave over the whole of Europe has in recent years had parts of the liberal order that seemed so robust to creak in the joints.
Actually, we should probably not be surprised. The core of Fukuyamas thesis about the end of history was thus the liberal society – unlike other ideological models – the lack of conflicts and thus disarms those who want it badly. The idea is hardly credible with any other fund than the communist collapse.
the Fact is that Fukuyama himself noted, a traditionally conservative critique of liberalism: the call of the market forces domination and the lack of mandatory communities could give rise to rootlessness and loss of identity. In it was an enticement to germinate to religious fanaticism and ethnic nationalism.
these ismers appeal. But probably constitutes a experienced alienation in the face of a changing world, and a source of the introverted högerpopulismens emergence.
in 1989, it was also unusually easy to dismiss Marx's theories about capitalism's tendency to crisis and the tendency to rikedomskoncentration. It is more difficult, after 30 years, which includes the asian crisis, the financial crisis and the euro crisis, as well as a steady increase in economic inequality over the whole of the western world and in particular in the united states.
in addition, It is not only Marx who observed that the liberal economic projects capable of generating crisis and conflict.
in addition, It is not only Marx who observed that the liberal economic projects capable of generating crisis and conflict. It is a fairly well-established historiography of the globalization that characterized the long 1800s gave rise to increased social insecurity, and generated a protectionist backlash, which, in turn, prepared the ground for the great depression, and totalitarian forces rise. The sociologist Karl Polanyi coined after the second world war the concept of ”dubbelrörelse” in the sense that the situation gives rise to uncertainty and requirements on återregleringar of the markets.
Even the basic insights from modern social sciences underlines that open economies can create resistance. Trade do countries richer over the law, but creates winners and losers within them. In rich countries with comparative advantages in capital-intensive sectors, such as the USA and Europe, found the losers, mainly among the low-skilled. It provides a great väljarpotential for free trade opponents.
in that liberal societies lack conflict. Their strength is that they can handle them in a productive way. And that the combination of free economy and political democracy provides an ability for self-regulation, to create wealth and to distribute it in a way that gives the model legitimacy over time.
Fukuyama was wrong in that liberal societies lack conflict. Their strength is that they can handle them in a productive way.
at the same time, the existence of conflicts that, for those who want to grow discontent will be topsoil. Free societies prevent either rarely anyone from so. In times when tensions are tightened, the harvest to be pretty good.
therefore, not the liberal order. Motrörelser of different kinds is not possible to avoid. The implications, however, is not predetermined. The determinism that Francis Fukuyama was attracted by the tempting also those who point to the internal contradictions that open societies can accommodate.
But it matters how a backlash is handled. Policy is not to like. There are never endless options. But politicians and voters is not just the history of puppets. There is always more than one possible outcome, and the choices made will shape the next palette of possibilities.
committing the british to maintain close ties with the EU or insulate themselves from the union? Act the us congress to limit Trump's tirade against the country's institutions as the rules-based international order? Choose Europe's honest right to go to securely link their arms, with the authoritarian populism?
There are a few of the choices awaiting in 2019, with great importance for the direction the story takes when it once again accelerates.