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"Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy" by Francis Fukuyama

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 29.2 (Summer 2015)

June 17, 2015

Detail of book cover

Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy, Francis Fukuyama (New York: Farrar, Straus and Girouz, 2014), 658 pp., $35 cloth.

Review by Jack Snyder

During the globalization euphoria of the 1990s some pundits were writing that the individual state was too small to solve social and economic problems. Now the tone has changed. Even those who aspire to a transnational religious caliphate are branding their political objective as establishing an effective "Islamic State." Francis Fukuyama, following in the footsteps of his renowned teacher Samuel Huntington, affirms that successful state-building remains the sine qua non of political order. He worries, though, that too many contemporary states are not living up to Huntington’s criteria for a strong state: "complex, adaptable, autonomous, coherent."

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Democracy