Since the publication of the Journal of Democracy began in 1990, the political climate has shifted from one of democratic gains and optimism to what Larry Diamond labels a “democratic recession.” Underlying these changes has been a reorientation of the major axis of political polarization, from a left-right divide defined largely in economic terms toward a politics based on identity. In a second major shift, technological development has had unexpected effects—including that of facilitating the rise of identity-based social fragmentation.
In the second decade of the 21st century, the world experienced the rise of a global populist movement built around ethnic nationalism and hostility to foreigners and immigration. This movement has been led by the United States after the election of Donald J. Trump as President in 2016, and today includes leaders in Turkey, Hungary, Poland, Italy, Brazil, and a host of parties throughout Europe that challenge the liberal international order. Canada, Australia, and the United States are three former British colonies that were settled by successive waves of immigrants from abroad.
Western observers have raised concerns over the rise and now predominance of Chinese state-backed bilateral lending in international infrastructure development. These range from China's growing geopolitical influence to the increasingly unsustainable debt levels of some of the nations receiving investments as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In fact the BRI today is simply the next phase of a decades-long shift in the infrastructure sector towards China and away from traditional western development lending institutions.
Trumpist populism could easily linger longer than most people readily assume. This article defines populism and gives three reasons why we are seeing the rise of populist nationalism now, in the second half of the 2010s. Those reasons are economic, political, and cultural. It also addresses the future of populism at home and abroad.
How should the quality of government be measured across disparate national contexts? This study develops a new approach using an original survey of Chinese civil servants and a comparison to the United States. We surveyed over 2,500 Chinese municipal officials on three organizational features of their bureaucracies: meritocracy, individual autonomy, and morale. They report greater meritocracy than U.S. federal employees in almost all American agencies. China's edge is smaller in autonomy and markedly smaller in morale. Differences between the U.S.
Francis Fukuyama discusses Congress's dysfunctional budgetary politics in "The American Interest", asking why the United States is one of the only advanced democracies under constant threat of government shutdown. Given America's peculiar institutions, technical and institutional reforms to the budgeting process may be limited in their impact.
Writing in The New York Time Book review, Michael Lind described The Origins of Political Order as "a major achievement by one of the leading public intellectuals of our time." Fukuyama completes the most important work of political thought in at least a generation. Taking up the essential question of how societies develop strong, impersonal, and accountable political institutions, Fukuyama follows the story from the Industrial Revolution to the globalization of democracy, from the rise of the Prussian bureaucratic state to the so-called Arab Spring and the deep dysfunctions of contemporary American politics. He examines the effects of corruption on governance and explains why only some societies have been successful at rooting it out. He explores the different legacies of colonialism in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and offers a clear-eyed account of why certain regions have thrived and developed more quickly than others. And he boldly reckons with the future of democracy in the face of a rising global middle class and entrenched political paralysis in the West.
A sweeping, masterful account of the struggle to create a well-functioning modern state, Political Order and Political Decay is destined to be a classic.
Francis Fukuyama discusses the central argument and main themes behind his new volume, "Political Order and Political Decay."
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 at Johns Hopkins University and at the George Mason University School of Public Policy. Fukuyama was a researcher at the RAND Corporation and served as the deputy director for the State Department’s policy planning staff. He is the author of The Origins of Political Order, The End of History and the Last Man, Trust, and America at the Crossroads, among other books. He lives with his wife in California.
This paper points to the poor state of empirical measures of the quality of states, that is, executive branches and their bureaucracies. Much of the problem is conceptual, since there is very little agreement on what constitutes high-quality government. The paper suggests four approaches: (1) procedural measures, such as the Weberian criteria of bureaucratic modernity; (2) capacity measures, which include both resources and degree of professionalization; (3) output measures; and (4) measures of bureaucratic autonomy.
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 citizens. 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.
U.S. foreign assistance—the rationale behind it, the amount we give, its orientation and organization—has changed dramatically in the last decade. These changes have challenged its efficacy but have also created new opportunities to modernize U.S. foreign assistance. The importance of supporting development and reducing poverty abroad are understood now as never before to be both moral imperatives and prerequisites for sustained U.S. national security.
Francis Fukuyama and Michael McFaul present an argument for continued American efforts to promote democracy and a plan to strengthen policy tools for those efforts. They advocate a concept of dual-track diplomacy and the creation of a new Cabinet-level department of development, with distinct resources and programs for democracy promotion.
Bestselling author Francis Fukuyama brings together esteemed academics, political analysts, and practitioners to reflect on the U.S. experience with nation-building, from its historical underpinnings to its modern-day consequences. The United States has sought on repeated occasions to reconstruct states damaged by conflict, from Reconstruction in the South after the Civil War to Japan and Germany after World War II, to the ongoing rebuilding of Iraq.