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Happily ever after

M.F. Burnyeat, 23 July 1992

The End of History and the Last Man 
by Francis Fukuyama.
Hamish Hamilton, 418 pp., £20, March 1992, 0 241 13013 1
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... In 1989 the National Interest, an American journal, published an article by Francis Fukuyama called ‘The End of History’. It was reprinted around the world in a buzz of discussion. Was Fukuyama right to claim that the End of Communism spells the End of History? Not many people thought that he was ...

Neo-Con Futurology

Stephen Holmes: The incoherent thinking behind US foreign policy, 5 October 2006

After the Neocons: America at the Crossroads 
by Francis Fukuyama.
Profile, 226 pp., £12.99, March 2006, 1 86197 922 3
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... In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Francis Fukuyama signed an open letter arguing that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was essential to ‘the eradication of terrorism’, even if Saddam were revealed to have had no connection to al-Qaida and no hand in the attack. At that time, in other words, and alongside neo-con celebrities such as Charles Krauthammer and William Kristol, Fukuyama was beating the drum for a ‘shift in focus from al-Qaida to Iraq ...

Notes on the Election

David Runciman, 21 May 2015

... also extremely messy, with all sorts of minor players holding the big boys to ransom. It is what Francis Fukuyama has called a ‘vetocracy’, which means a system that puts barriers in the way of reform more than it does in the way of social decay. Cameron’s biggest immediate headache will be how to deal with the SNP, since the Tories are now a ...

Bring me my Philips Mental Jacket

Slavoj Žižek: Improve Your Performance!, 22 May 2003

... properties can be altered, what we lose is not (only) humanity but nature itself. In this sense, Francis Fukuyama is right in Our Posthuman Future: the notion of humanity relies on the belief that we possess an inherited ‘human nature’, that we are born with an unfathomable dimension of ourselves.* The gene directly responsible for the onset of ...


Colin Kidd: The Invention of Globalisation, 2 September 2004

Birth of the Modern World 1780-1914: Global Connections and Comparisons 
by C.A. Bayly.
Blackwell, 568 pp., £65, January 2004, 0 631 18799 5
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... with the debate over the future world order initiated by political scientists, most prominently Francis Fukuyama and Samuel Huntington. Unfortunately, both Fukuyama and Huntington grounded their prophecies on a schematic universal history of the sort liable to engender an allergic reaction in most historians. Whereas ...


Carl Elliott: The Ethics of Bioethics, 28 November 2002

... crit-iques of bioethics: intellectual arrogance and moral weakness. In Our Posthuman Future, Francis Fukuyama, though a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, accuses bioethicists of pandering to scientists, remarking that in any discussion of controversial ethical issues, ‘it is usually the professional bioethicist who can be relied on ...

Use Your Illusions

Slavoj Žižek: Obama’s Victory and the Financial Meltdown, 20 November 2008

... of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 marked the beginning of the ‘happy 1990s’. According to Francis Fukuyama, liberal democracy had, in principle, won. The era is generally seen as having come to an end on 9/11. However, it seems that the utopia had to die twice: the collapse of the liberal-democratic political utopia on 9/11 did not affect the ...

Pretty Much like Ourselves

Terry Eagleton, 4 September 1997

Modern British Utopias 1700-1850 
by Gregory Claeys.
Pickering & Chatto, 4128 pp., £550, March 1997, 1 85196 319 7
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... guise, and so helps to reinforce it. They are end-of-history texts, fictional equivalents of Francis Fukuyama, which deny that reality could be transformed in the very act of proclaiming how it could be improved. The Island of Liberty (1848) shows an enlightened aristocrat carrying out an experiment in human equality on a South Sea island, a project ...

In a Frozen Crouch

Colin Kidd: Democracy’s Ends, 13 September 2018

How Democracy Ends 
by David Runciman.
Profile, 249 pp., £14.99, May 2018, 978 1 78125 974 0
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Edge of Chaos: Why Democracy Is Failing to Deliver Economic Growth – And How to Fix It 
by Dambisa Moyo.
Little, Brown, 296 pp., £20, April 2018, 978 1 4087 1089 0
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How Democracies Die 
by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt.
Viking, 311 pp., £16.99, January 2018, 978 0 241 31798 3
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Anti-Pluralism: The Populist Threat to Liberal Democracy 
by William Galston.
Yale, 158 pp., £25, June 2018, 978 0 300 22892 2
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... attempted military coup was foiled in 1981. Nevertheless, Western democracy survived, and by 1989 Francis Fukuyama had published an article, later a bestselling book, announcing the ‘end of history’. With the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, Fukuyama maintained, the only ideal left standing was liberal ...

Making a Break

Terry Eagleton: Fredric Jameson’s Futures, 9 March 2006

Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions 
by Fredric Jameson.
Verso, 431 pp., £20, September 2005, 1 84467 033 3
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... end of history, or at least of ideology, had in fact already been proclaimed some decades before Francis Fukuyama loomed on the horizon (one might think that to be wrong about the death of history twice is sheer carelessness). The second proclamation, however, proved ironically self-undoing. For the triumphalism of the claim that capitalism was the only ...

Wordsworth and the Well-Hidden Corpse

Marilyn Butler, 6 August 1992

The Lyrical Ballads: Longman Annotated Texts 
edited by Michael Mason.
Longman, 419 pp., £29.99, April 1992, 0 582 03302 0
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Strange Power of Speech: Wordsworth, Coleridge and Literary Possession 
by Susan Eilenberg.
Oxford, 278 pp., £30, May 1992, 0 19 506856 4
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The Politics of Nature: Wordsworth and Some Contemporaries 
by Nicholas Roe.
Macmillan, 186 pp., £35, April 1992, 0 333 52314 8
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... of society’. Reviewing Southey’s oriental romance, Thalaba the Destroyer, late in 1802, Francis Jeffrey in the first number of the Edinburgh Review brings up the Cottle connection for the first time. Recalling Southey’s earlier political notoriety and Wordsworth’s Preface, he turns the latter by selective quotation into the democratic manifesto ...

Newsreel History

Terry Eagleton: Modern Times, Modern Places by Peter Conrad, 12 November 1998

Modern Times, Modern Places 
by Peter Conrad.
Thames and Hudson, 752 pp., £24.95, October 1998, 0 500 01877 4
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... end of history simply contribute another event to the history they declare over and done with, as Francis Fukuyama has no doubt been discovering from his post-bag. They are self-disconfirming prophecies, Cretan Liar paradoxes which, like all appeals to make it new, add one more item to that venerable lineage known as the avant-garde. Besides, you can ...

The Choice Was Real

David Runciman, 29 June 2017

... be close to the limits of their appeal and what matters is how they appease their new supporters. Francis Fukuyama has argued that politics in the US has become a ‘vetocracy’, where it is far easier to prevent things getting done than to build something new. Part of this stems from the role of the courts in the US constitution. But part of it comes ...

My Millbank

Seumas Milne, 18 April 1996

The Blair Revolution: Can New Labour Deliver? 
by Peter Mandelson and Roger Liddle.
Faber, 274 pp., £7.99, February 1996, 0 571 17818 9
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... were set on modernising path to becoming secular Western capitalist democracies – or of Francis Fukuyama and his utopian account of the ‘end of history’. Part of the modernising agenda within the labour movement clearly reflects a genuine attempt to get to grips with deep-seated social and economic change; but part reflects a determination ...

Can they?

Dan Hancox: Podemos, 17 December 2015

Politics in a Time of Crisis: Podemos and the Future of a Democratic Europe 
by Pablo Iglesias, translated by Lorna Scott Fox.
Verso, 237 pp., £10.99, November 2015, 978 1 78478 335 8
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... with the playful, political theory with pop culture. He cites Billy Elliot and The Wire alongside Francis Fukuyama and David Harvey to discuss neoliberalism’s corrosion of the postwar social democratic consensus, Game of Thrones alongside Gramsci to illustrate the meaning of power. The book is aimed at the ‘youth without a future’, the generation ...

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