Francis Fukuyama

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Francis Fukuyama
Born October 27, 1952 (1952-10-27) (age 56)
Chicago, Illinois
Education B.A. in classics from Cornell University; Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University
Occupation Professor, philosopher, author
Family father, Yoshio Fukuyama
mother, Toshiko Kawata Fukuyama
Ethnicity Japanese-American
Notable credit(s) Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy and Director of the International Development Program at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University; author of several books; frequent guest on

Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama (born 27 October 1952) is an American philosopher, political economist, and author.


[edit] Early life

Francis Fukuyama was born in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. His father, Yoshio Fukuyama, a second-generation Japanese-American, was trained as a minister in the Congregational Church and received a doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago. His mother, Toshiko Kawata Fukuyama, was born in Kyoto, Japan, and was the daughter of Shiro Kawata, founder of the Economics Department of Kyoto University and first president of Osaka City University in Osaka. Fukuyama's childhood years were spent in New York City. In 1967 his family moved to State College, Pennsylvania, where he attended high school.

[edit] Education

Fukuyama received his Bachelor of Arts degree in classics from Cornell University, where he studied political philosophy under Allan Bloom. He earned his Ph.D. in government from Harvard University, studying with Samuel P. Huntington and Harvey C. Mansfield, among others. Fukuyama has been affiliated with the Telluride Association since his undergraduate years at Cornell, an educational enterprise that was home to other significant leaders and intellectuals, including Steven Weinberg, Paul Wolfowitz and Kathleen Sullivan.

Fukuyama is currently the Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy and Director of the International Development Program at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University, located in Washington, DC.

[edit] Writings

Fukuyama is best known as the author of The End of History and the Last Man, in which he argued that the progression of human history as a struggle between ideologies is largely at an end, with the world settling on liberal democracy after the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Fukuyama predicted the eventual global triumph of political and economic liberalism:

What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such... That is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.

He has written a number of other books, among them Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity and Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution. In the latter, he qualified his original 'end of history' thesis, arguing that since biotechnology increasingly allows humans to control their own evolution, it may allow humans to alter human nature, thereby putting liberal democracy at risk. One possible outcome could be that an altered human nature could end in radical inequality. He is a fierce enemy of transhumanism, an intellectual movement asserting that posthumanity is a desirable goal.

The current revolution in biological sciences leads him to theorize that in an environment where science and technology are by no means at an end, but rather opening new horizons, history itself cannot therefore be said to be, as he once thought, at an end.

In another work The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstruction of Social Order, he explores the origins of social norms, and analyses the current disruptions in the fabric of our moral traditions, which he considers as arising from a shift from the manufacturing to the information age. This shift is, he thinks, normal and will prove self-correcting, given the intrinsic human need for social norms and rules.

In 2008 he published the book Falling Behind: Explaining the Development Gap Between Latin America and the United States, which resulted from research and a conference funded by Grupo Mayan to gain understanding on why Latin America, once far wealthier than North America, fell behind in terms of development in only a matter of centuries. Discussing this book at a 2009 conference, Fukuyama outlined his belief that inequality within Latin American nations is a key impediment to growth. An unequal distribution of wealth, he stated, leads to social upheaval which in turn results in stunted growth.[1]

[edit] Neoconservatism

As a key Reagan Administration contributor to the formulation of the Reagan Doctrine, Fukuyama is an important figure in the rise of Neoconservatism. He was active in the Project for the New American Century think tank starting in 1997, and as a member co-signed the organization's letter recommending that President Bill Clinton support Iraqi insurgencies in the overthrow of then-President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein.[2] He was also among forty co-signers of William Kristol's September 20, 2001 letter to President George W. Bush after the September 11, 2001 attacks that suggested the U.S. 'capture or kill Osama bin Laden, and to destroy his network of associates', and 'provide full military and financial support to the Iraqi opposition' for the purpose of removing Saddam Hussein from power 'even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack.'[3]

[edit] Fukuyama's current views

Beginning in 2002 however, he has distanced himself from the neoconservative agenda under the Bush Administration, citing its overly militaristic basis and embrace of unilateral armed intervention, particularly in the Middle East. By late 2003, Fukuyama had voiced his growing opposition to the Iraq War[4] and called for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation as Secretary of Defense.[5] He said that he would vote against Bush in the 2004 election,[6] and said Bush had made three major mistakes:

  • The Bush administration had overestimated the threat of radical Islam to the US.
  • The Bush administration hadn't foreseen the fierce negative reaction to its benevolent hegemony. From the very beginning it had shown a negative attitude toward the United Nations and other international organizations and hadn't seen that this would increase anti-Americanism in other countries.
  • The Bush administration had misjudged what was needed to bring peace in Iraq and had been overly optimistic about the success with which social engineering of western values could be applied to Iraq and the Middle East in general.

Fukuyama's current beliefs include:

Just as every other country does, the US has a right to promote its own values in the world, but more along the lines of what he calls realistic Wilsonianism, with military intervention only as a last resort and only in addition to other measures. A latent military force is more likely to have an effect than actual deployment. The US spends more on its military than the rest of the world put together, but Iraq shows there are limits to its effectiveness. The US should instead stimulate political and economic development and gain a better understanding of what happens in other countries. The best instruments are setting a good example and providing education and, in many cases, money. The secret of development, be it political or economic, is that it never comes from outsiders, but always from people in the country itself. One thing the US proved to have excelled in during the aftermath of WW2 was the formation of international institutions. A return to support for these structures would combine American power with international legitimacy. But such measures require a lot of patience. This is the central thesis of his most recent work America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy (2006).

In an essay in the New York Times Magazine in 2006 that was strongly critical of the invasion,[7] he identified neoconservatism with Leninism. He wrote that neoconservatives:

…believed that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will. Leninism was a tragedy in its Bolshevik version, and it has returned as farce when practiced by the United States. Neoconservatism, as both a political symbol and a body of thought, has evolved into something I can no longer support.

His previous comments on militarism, for instance, that "[i]t is precisely because American foreign policy is infused with an unusually high degree of morality that other nations find they have less to fear from its otherwise daunting power," are an expression of "Wilsonianism" with a realistic touch.[citation needed] He also announced the end of the neoconservative moment and argued for the demilitarization of the War on Terrorism:

[W]ar is the wrong metaphor for the broader struggle, since wars are fought at full intensity and have clear beginnings and endings. Meeting the jihadist challenge is more of a "long, twilight struggle" whose core is not a military campaign but a political contest for the hearts and minds of ordinary Muslims around the world.

If he has distanced himself from the label of neoconservatism, he nonetheless remains indebted to the thought of Leo Strauss, one of the founding intellectual fathers of neoconservatism, for much of the theoretical basis of his ideas on political economy. In his essay "Our Posthuman Future," he adopts a Straussian perspective in his defence of the classical doctrine of natural right. He says his argument is Aristotelian and that "Aristotle argued, in effect, that human notions of right and wrong–what we today call human rights–were ultimately based on Human nature" (p.12).[citation needed]

Regarding the recent financial crisis, Fukuyama supports supervision of this economic sector[8]: "Financial institutions need strong supervision, but it isn't clear that other sectors of the economy do."

Fukuyama endorsed Barack Obama in the 2008 US presidential election. He states:

"I’m voting for Barack Obama this November for a very simple reason. It is hard to imagine a more disastrous presidency than that of George W. Bush. It was bad enough that he launched an unnecessary war and undermined the standing of the United States throughout the world in his first term. But in the waning days of his administration, he is presiding over a collapse of the American financial system and broader economy that will have consequences for years to come. As a general rule, democracies don’t work well if voters do not hold political parties accountable for failure. While John McCain is trying desperately to pretend that he never had anything to do with the Republican Party, I think it would a travesty to reward the Republicans for failure on such a grand scale."[9]

[edit] Affiliations

  • In August 2005, Fukuyama – together with a number of other prominent political thinkers – co-founded The American Interest, a quarterly magazine devoted to the broad theme of "America in the World". The editorial tone of the publication is largely bi-partisan and is an attempt to transcend the polemical discourse that dominates discussions of contemporary American foreign policy.
  • Fukuyama was a member of the the President's Council on Bioethics from 2001-2005.
  • Fukuyama is a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS).
  • Fukuyama is on the steering committee for the Scooter Libby Legal Defense Trust.[10] Fukuyama is a long-time friend of Libby. They served together in the State Department in the 1980s.
  • During the 2008 Presidential Election, Fukuyama endorsed Democratic candidate Barack Obama who went on to win the Presidential Election.[11]

[edit] Personal life

Fukuyama is also a part-time photographer and has a keen interest in early-American furniture, which he makes by hand.

Fukuyama is married to Laura Holmgren. They live in suburban Washington, D.C., with their three children, Julia, David, and John.

[edit] Selected Bibliography

[edit] Books

[edit] Essays

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Ryan Weddle (2009-02-18). "Fukuyama: 'Social Agenda' Needed to Combat Poverty in Latin America". Devex. Retrieved on 2009-02-19. 
  2. ^ Abrams, Elliott, et. al. (1998-01-26). "Letter to President Clinton on Iraq" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2005-10-09. Retrieved on 2008-08-16. 
  3. ^ "Letter to President Bush on the War on Terrorism". Project for the New American Century. Retrieved on 2007-05-13. 
  4. ^ Francis Fukuyama (2004-06-01). "The Neoconservative Moment". The National Interest. Retrieved on 2007-05-13. 
  5. ^ "Fukuyama Withdraws Bush Support". Today's Zaman. 2004-07-14. Retrieved on 2007-05-13. 
  6. ^ Andrew Billen (2004-07-14). "Why I won't vote for George Bush". Retrieved on 2007-05-13. 
  7. ^ Francis Fukuyama (2006-02-19). "After Neoconservatism". New York Times Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-05-13. 
  8. ^ Francis Fukuyama (2008-10-04). "The Fall of America, Inc.". Newsweek. Retrieved on 2008-10-11. 
  9. ^ Francis Fukuyama (2008-11-03). "Francis Fukuyama". The American Conservative. Retrieved on 2008-10-30. 
  10. ^ "Defense Fund Raises Money in Libby Case". New York Times. 2006-02-03. Retrieved on 2007-05-13. 
  11. ^ The End of History, and Back Again, The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved on 2008-05-27.

[edit] External links

NAME Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama
SHORT DESCRIPTION Professor, philosopher, author
DATE OF BIRTH October 27, 1952
PLACE OF BIRTH Hyde Park, Chicago
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