Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, June 24th, 2019

Why Fukuyama is Breathtakingly Honest

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Why Fukuyama is Breathtakingly Honest

The world, today, is going through a historic era whose repercussions will stay with mankind for generations to come. The decades ahead will define the future of humanity and how the lives of billions of people worldwide will be scripted for generations to come. The challenges ahead of humanity, at this juncture, are enormous and formidable and so are the capacity and creativity of human beings to overcome them. The challenges that confront the humanity today are manifold and multi-faceted. On various fronts, what is driving ahead the lives of nations, people and communities is a complex mix of hope and despair – of achievements and failures. Today and more than twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fall of Communism as a viable school of thought and plan of political organization, the world on the crossroads one again. Many had predicted that liberal democracy of the type that has been practiced in the West for decades now will be the eventual fate of many of the less developed countries in the Global South too. Francis Fukuyama, the noted American political scientist, in his 1992 book, “The End of History and the Last Man”, clearly exalted by the collapse of Communism, had bragged about the fate that he so surely believed would now spread across the world. In his view and expressed throughout his book, he had upheld that liberal democracy of the type practiced in the West now is the inevitable fate of the humanity at large. Many among the more realistic critics of this claim, who had their eyes and ears attuned to the ground realities unfolding on the global stage, at the time had nothing but contempt and a wide grin for this claim that seemed to be taller than the reality. What is interesting is that none other than Francis Fukuyama himself recently has come out with a detailed article in the Foreign Policy magazine declaring far and wide that what he predicted as an inevitable fate of the humanity is proving to have been just another passing era that last is fast losing its sheen. The article by Fukuyama in the Foreign Policy magazine is a must to read for everyone that is even remotely interested in current and global affairs.
Fukuyama has correctly diagnosed a number of problems with how the liberal democracies are functioning today and why and based on what reasons these issues and problems are working to slowly erode the foundations on which the edifice of liberal democracy today rests. He singles out the decline of middle class in the West as by far the largest reason that is contributing to the erosion of liberal democracy as it is known and the ascendance of economics over politics in these societies. From a historical perspective, Fukuyama delves into the history of the evolution of liberal democracies in the West. He upholds the thriving and flourishing of a large and strong middle class in the West in the 19th and 20th centuries as the foundation upon which a strong tradition of liberal democracy was nurtured and institutionalized in the West. As long as there is a vibrant and strong middle class in the West, liberal democracy thrives and prospers. It has been so until around the turn of the last century and more recently with the advent of a financial and economic crisis in the West, the erosion and decline of the middle class in these societies has taken a sharp turn towards worsening. Fukuyama has correctly diagnosed the range of issues and forces that today are responsible for the decline of the middle class in the West and, in consequence, the erosion and decline of liberal democracy. Globalization and the “financialization” – as Fukuyama himself uses this term - of entire economies in the West are pointed out by him to be the two largest forces that are responsible for the erosion of the Western middle class. Globalization, as explained by Fukuyama and also evident in the economic trends worldwide, has thrown wide open the gates towards a global market for hundreds of millions of inexpensive workforce from the erstwhile third world countries. Today, a manual worker in the U.S. should compete not only with his counterparts from other developed countries but also with a growing army of skilled workforce from the developing world. Globalization is also driving many American and European companies to move plants, operations, jobs and livelihoods elsewhere to other countries in Asia and Latin America where inputs can be found much cheaper. Millions of well-paid jobs have already been offshored out of the U.S. towards Asia and Latin America over the past one decade. The Western world, particularly the U.S., is fast turning into real “post-industrial” economies and societies where wealth and political power is becoming more concentrated and the future generation will not be necessarily better off than the previous generation of the Post-World War II period. Fukuyama delves into this issue in greater detail and paints a clear picture of how globalization is resulting into a hollowing out of European and particularly American economies.
Financialization of economies in the West has been an ongoing trend for the past two decades. The first decade of the 21st century saw an unprecedented growth in the share and importance of banks and financial institutions in the West. Fukuyama is honest enough to also point out this runaway financialization as a major culprit for the present economic stagnation and the decline of the middle class in the West. As I have repeatedly dealt with this issue in my previous articles, the ascendancy of ‘finance capital’ over the real economies is harming western economies and societies on an unprecedented scale. What is going on in the West is a gradual rollback of real democracy and an outright dictatorship by the banks and financial corporations with politicians.
The economic malaise in the West and the decline of the middle class there is resulting into the decline of the strong tradition of liberal democracy in the West. Liberal democracy is indeed proving not to be the final fate of these societies. Fukuyama is breathtakingly honest.   

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