A New Era
Published on: November 9, 2008
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  • Jordi

    I’m not sure if we should talk about the current financial crisis in terms of clash of ideas this time ( it is a good way when we talk about political reforms in Russia during the 90’s etc ) but in general I think it is brilliant.

  • csmats

    First, “The End Of History”. Now, “A New Era”. How does this guy have any credibility?

  • jafco

    Mr. F:

    this is BS. First, RR was never in favor of total deregulation. Anyone who has read Adam Smith knows that there is some required regulation – one of the most intense cabals to obtain improper advantage that Smith described was that between businessmen and bureaucrats. In the current meltdown, the Democrats in congress and the Clinton Admin basically ruled out common sense in forcing at best, abetting at worst the mortgage lending industry, especially Freddie and Fannie, to dispense with things like credit history, assets, income and down payments, as a basis for obtaining a loan. These are “regulations” pure and simple, and RR had nothing – philosophically or otherwise – to do with their dismissal.

    Second, RR had a far greater causal effect on the fall of the Soviet Union than you make it (you prefer to see this as an accident of history). Reagan identified the Emperor as having no clothes, and encouraged his slaves to press for change. Without his activism, the rotting carcass of the USSR might still be moving. As it is, Putin seems to be trying some form of necromancy.

    Third, there’s much more to criticize in your thinking. I won’t bother with it. I would only advise you to go out and replicate de Tocqueville’s inquiry into the nature of America and its politics. Maybe someday you really will witness and describe an “end to history”. Until then, I’m putting you in the “no read” zone as a waste of my time.


  • rob

    A measured critique of Reaganism from someone I saw as a fellow-traveller with it.

    Fukuyama still has mixed feelings, though, about wage regulation. I suspect this recession will mean that America’s unemployment rate, despite the appalling wages so many Americans endure, ends up no better than employment levels in other developed economies where workers are supposedly ‘feather-bedded’.

    Fukuyama includes in his list of Reaganisms to be challenged the idea of taxation as waste and as a drag on economic productivity. Hopefully, there will be a recognition that governments can invest to enhance a nation’s productivity, by investing in education, healthcare, employment-generation programs, etc, and that workers will be more productive and motivated if they are well-paid, secure, educated, healthy and have good work-life balance.

  • From your lips to God’s ears, Francis Fukuyama.

    Two thoughts, however: Americans are still very prickly about their sovereignty. In fact, many nations are–we are not alone in this. Americans will definitely hold their president’s feet to the fire if it looks like he is selling out real American interests just to “play nice with the Europeans.”

    Second, Obama can’t do a darned thing unless he comes with genuine healing in his wings. And this means not stirring up hornets’ nests. Overturn the ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cells? Is that really the first foot to be put forward, given that he only won 52.6% of the votes?? Let him first pick the issues that unify us as Americans, not the issues that divide us bitterly.

    Red State Gal

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  • Chris Boegel

    Barak Obama has all of the globalist ideas that Fukuyama rehashes here. Fortunately for America – these ideas are incoherent and self-destructive – so Obama will not be able clearly articulate them – and he will damage America by trying to implement them. Fukuyama’s socialist realignment will be impeded by 2 of the 3 contingencies on which he says it rests – Obama’s socialist programs will deepen the recession, making it extremely hard for Obama to talk up utopian dreams at the expense of the American dream.

    So the realignment will need intense help from the liberal media establishment, who will turn up the volume with tons of “news” about how liberal professors and journalists think that there are “early impressions that Obama is effective in dealing with the economic crisis and foreign policy.”

    Fukuyama states that the problem with America is President Reagan’s ideas – these “need to be reformulated or discarded…to navigate the current crisis and restore [America’s] credibility in the new era.”

    Here are the three old ideas Fukuyama lists for curing America’s “Reaganitis:”

    • More government regulations;
    • More taxes so that the government can keep spending; and
    • Abandon U.S. military strength and moral clarity in foreign policy, and invest in international institutions to manage foreign affairs.

    First Fukuyama writes a book saying history is over – now he wants America to repeat history with another debacle like the Carter presidency?

    Fukuyama’s ideas will weaken America economically and militarily. If Obama tries them – he’ll lose the 2012 election by a landslide. So it’s probably a good bet that Obama will keep the Fukuyama agenda under wraps…unless he gets a 2nd term.

  • dyinglikeflies

    Mr. “end of history” is at it again. You really don’t remember the Clinton years as having been successful in terms of either the economy or of foreign policy?

    On de-regulation: Just because the Bush zealots were willing to stand aside for 6 years without fulfilling their obligations as leaders to re-assess the need for regulation, as they happily watched a cascading situation in the economy, doesn’t mean Clinton’s initial moves almost a decade earlier with respect to the economy (which functioned quite successfully under his watch) were wrong. It’s not Clinton’s fault Bush was asleep at the switch.

    As to foreign policy, it was the Clinton military which kicked the Taliban out of Afghanistan with ease. Since then Bush has wrecked the military and, by bankrupting the country with his tax cuts for the rich, destroyed our ability to pay for our defense. “Soldiers without flak jackets” is how Bush should be remembered. But any attempt to try and smear Clinton because of Bush’s stupidity is completely strained.

  • Jordi Costa

    Despite what has happened lately, the end of story is still a vey useful way to think relevant issues susch as failed states. Pales, you should learn to read philisophy.

  • Savas Bicer

    The new articulations Fukuyama offered to Obama,hopefully do not touch to the foreign countries which they are already in recession and not cause new conflicts around the world in order to compansate the US recession.

  • Brian Stout

    The conservative fetishism of the Reagan years continues to surprise me. Perhaps the absence of a more contemporary role model forces a revisionist understanding of history, but it is precisely the failure of the Bush Administration that – to borrow from the angry commenter above – showed Emperor Reagan in his stark nudity. The collapse of the central pillars of his economic policy, coupled with Bush’s dramatic failure to understand the limitations and sources of American power, should finally lay Mr. Reagan’s legacy to rest. The neocons learned the wrong lesson from the Reagan years. Their optimism heading into Iraq is a direct product of their myopia following the collapse of the Iron Curtain. To be sure, Mr. Clinton and his supporters are not innocent in this. But the ideas Mr. Fukuyama presents here seem relatively uncontroversial to anyone who has been following global politics for the last two decades: we need to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and funding; restore our moral authority; recognize the proper role of regulation in financial markets; and reinvigorate international institutions. Sounds like common sense – something that’s been missing in the White House for the last eight years.

  • achbun

    F. Fukuyama dans un journal français s’approfondie dans le diagnostique de la crise financière et économique mondiale, et fait appel à l’histoire très contemporaine pour expliquer le ‘Nouveau capitalisme américain’ émergé selon lui dans la période reaganienne ou durant ce qu’il a appelé ‘révolution Reagan-thatchérienne’, basée idéologiquement sur les principes du libéralisme capitaliste, et ‘argumentée’ par le besoin de s’échapper des pressions de la régulation financière et de la présence de l’Etat provident qui étouffent (selon les reaganiens) l’innovation et sapent la compétitivité.
    Ce processus a été accompagné par une guerre froide avec le front socialiste (pour éviter une guerre destructive), et l’exportation de certaines idées dont Fukuyama contribuera plus tard avec plusieurs autres dessinateurs de la politique extérieure américaine à leur design et vulgarisation. Lesquelles idées postulent au niveau politico-économique que l’état doit reculer en arrière devant les lois du marché et doit ramasser ces tentacule, le domaine financier doit se libérer de la régulation en baissant les impôts, en se croyant que ‘la baisse des impôts s’autofinancerait’ et les marchés étaient capables de s’autoréguleraient.
    Résultats de tous ces choix -bien sure sur la réalité ‘exagérés’ et ‘déformés’ par les multinationales pétrolifères et leurs lobbies politiques- tout simplement une ‘Crise financière et économique’ mondiale dont la part des USA est très robuste. Un raisonnement simple rend l’administration de ce dernier pays le premier coupable ; Première introduction : USA=locomotive de la croissance mondiale, deuxième introduction : le système financier des USA est fortement tremblé et est actuellement instable, donc le résultat logique c’est l’effondrement des systèmes financiers mondiaux et l’installation d’une crise financière et économique ; puisque le système économique mondial est dominé par le capitalisme basée sur le jeu financier.
    Les répercutions de cette crise se sont explicitement manifestés dans les indicateurs économiques, et au niveau des grandes bourses mondiales, causant ainsi des agitations politiques dans les sociétés cosmopolites et chez les Makers des politiques. Le défi dans ces quartiers, c’est de trouver des solutions efficaces, rapides et durables !! à un système mondial effondré, malgré les fonds mystérieuses qui avaient été mises en jeu depuis l’époque reaganienne ou même avant, justement après la découverte de l’or noir, c’est-à-dire l’exploitation des cette ressource naturelle à l’intérieur et l’extérieur, et l’accumulation des capitaux chez la minorité qui dirigeait la planète. En comparaison, l’échec du système socialiste mondial était causé plutôt par la conjoncture de ‘plusieurs forces extérieurs’ : blocus, guerre froide, dépenses financiers dans les guérillas de libération…etc, que par une telle ‘autodestruction capitaliste’ dû principalement à un égoïsme exagéré de ‘la société’=the companey.
    Et donc l’Etat qui a été disparu du théâtre économique et financier capitaliste mondial, revient fortement dans des grandes ‘opérations d’étatisation’ organisés et coordonnées au niveau mondial (USA, Allemagne, France, Japan, UK, Island…etc) avec des injections exceptionnels malheureusement insuffisantes (Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress Monday a fresh round of government stimulus is a good idea because there’s a risk the country’s economic weakness could last for some time, 20oct08) car certaines voix demandent des stimulus supplémentaires pour avoir des impacts apparentes.
    Vraiment c’est une boule de neige ! qui affectera dans le future proche les pays en voie de développement qui n’ont pas senti de fortes agitations puisqu’il sont déjà agités et aussi du faite que leurs systèmes financiers ne sont pas tellement sensibles, pas dans le sens qu’ils soient forts et protégés mais plutôt qu’il ne sont pas à la pointe et au niveau d’organisation et d’intégration qui leurs permet de sentir la moindre variation, ce qui fait retarder la crise.
    Et par la suite, une aggravation de la situation socioéconomique des pays pauvres et vous pouvez (en cas d’absence de mesures sérieuses au niveau mondial) imaginer les conséquences humaines (conflits, réfugies, famines, épidémies, …etc.). Les pays riches ne vont pas s’échapper de la diminution des budgets investis dans le social. C’est un résultat à mon avis évident, car on investi dans la majorité des cas le surplus des budgets dans ‘l’amélioration des services sociaux’, dans la recherche et l’éducation et je rejoins T. Freedman dans sa crainte à propos ‘du rêve vert’ pas uniquement américain mais planétaire -par ce qu’il a besoin de grands investissements dans les recherches scientifiques pour se réaliser- puisque une grande partie du surplus budgétaire est déjà dépensée dans ‘la compensation’ et les PIB ne s’accoraient plus à 100% pour faire des miracles !.
    Et on n’attend pas que G.Bush nous rassure sur l’efficacité d’un système (capitalisme) inutile pour la durabilité de l’humanité et qu’on connaît bien…à suivre

    A. Achbun

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  • Arch Roberts Jr.

    Dear Frank, or Francis, if you prefer,

    Great article, the premises with which I agree, except this one:

    “But far from investing in institutions to manage these problems, the United States has been busy eroding existing international structures for its own short-term foreign policy goals, from the undermining of the ABM treaty to the nuclear deal with India to foot-dragging on global warming.”

    People of all political identifications are right to question global institutions. While there are many good people at the working level who are dedicated to and effective in doing their jobs, I believe these systems, particularly the UN, are fundamentally broken. I wish I could say it was because of the venal desires of those who serve only to enrich or empower themselves, but I fear it is because member governments of the international institutions we created after WWII have over time become acquiescent in the formulation of the least-common-denominator solutions these organizations continue to promulgate. In other words, the best becomes the enemy of the good, if not the mediocre, and sovereign governments pay only lip service to the idealized goals that are meted out in their pronouncements about how the world should work. Look at the IGPCC, the IAEA, even UNDP and UNICEF. Put their goals aside their accomplishments and look at the gap. It is not only the US, which still accounts for around 22% of all these organizations’ budgets taken as a whole, but many other countries that are simply not willing to surrender sovereignty to the will of the whole. I am a firm believer that we need these institutions to help us preserve our planet, but their lack of accountability and transparency, coupled with sovereign (and therefore narrow) interests does not give me confidence in their future effectiveness, no matter how much more actively the US engages.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have a grand solution just now, but everybody needs to work on it.

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