Fukuyama begins by describing pre-state human social groups--and human biology--to be used as a foundation for the rest of his compelling theory for how states are formed--or rather were formed in history. His historical account of the development of states in China, India, the Ottoman empire, and Europe demonstrates that the road of state formation varies greatly, and is not at all purely progressive. The outcome of state formation is also varied (as we can see in the modern world).
If nothing else, the first half of this book is a great overview of the development of different societies. Fascinating. And really not dry.
Fukuyama is just detailed enough to make his theories convincing, one being that central components for a modern political state as we see in Western democracies require: a strong state, the rule of law, and state accountability to all citizens. Many states have one or more of these things, but every modern political order must have them all.
His whole book is a build up to an upcoming second volume which will describe why in modern times state formation can proceed more directly and purposely than it has in history: with so much violence and suffering.This first volume is interesting, but is not directly relevant for understanding the workings of modern states we currently live in. Such insight I believe will come in the next volume. Still, a fascinating read!
This is a narrative--the author's narrative--of how states formed in history. And it reads like a narrative. It's not exactly a light read, but the strong narrative aspects make it a very compelling read.
Davis narration is very clear with perfect pronunciation of works in other languages (well, as far as I can tell). His pace is great and his emphasis of works in sentences actually helps in understanding what Fukuyama is saying.
Fukuyam's insight of the pre-conditions for a modern liberal capitalist state is convincing and based not just on his historical research, but a solid socio-political philosophy as well.
Hayek is not the most exciting writer, but he is clear, and his discussion does hold your attention. Especially this book which is directed not at academics, but to us regular folk.
The discussion about the dangers of socialism is somewhat dated: the particular dangers he is concerned about are with regards to post-war England. Still, there are insights here that apply universally.
My main complaint is the condescending tone of the reader. I do not think the book is written as a talking down lecture. But it comes across this way through the reader.
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