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Francis Fukuyama, the famous author of "End of History" has recently come out with an essay titled "The Future of History" which sees challenges to liberal democracy given the vast inequalities and fundamentalist embrace of neo-classical economics.

That's about where it stops being serious. The rest are statements which ought to baffle anyone who reads it, Fukuyama himself most of all.

So let's examine some real winners:

Yet despite widespread anger at Wall Street bailouts, there has been no great upsurge of left-wing American populism in response. It is conceivable that the Occupy Wall Street movement will gain traction, but the most dynamic recent populist movement to date has been the right-wing Tea Party, whose main target is the regulatory state that seeks to protect ordinary people from financial speculators.
Lets step back for a second, he is actually saying that the Occupy movement has had less impact or attendance than the Tea Party movement. Notice this wasn't written in 2011, it was written last February.

It's almost not even worth comparing:

* In October of last year there were an estimated 600 Occupy communities in the United States, including every major city, which had to be evicted to stop, unlike the Tea Party which held 3 hour rallies.

* At it's height, during the Global October 15th protest, over a million (if not a couple million) people around the world participated, something the Tea Party couldn't even hope to accomplish.

* For a direct comparison lets take the Wisconsin protests, at it's height there were several thousand tea parties counter-protesters compared to 100,000 anti-Walker protests.

What's odd about this supposed swell in right-wing politics is it serves no purpose in the article. He basically drops the topic, which at best is supposed to show that "old narratives" of too much free market fundamentalism still exist.    

But Fukuyama goes further when describing the "problem" of the left:

But the deeper reason a broad-based populist left has failed to materialize is an intellectual one. It has been several decades since anyone on the left has been able to articulate, first, a coherent analysis of what happens to the structure of advanced societies as they undergo economic change and, second, a realistic agenda that has any hope of protecting a middle-class society.
Apparently he's never heard of Noam Chomsky, Gar Alperovitz, Michael Albert or Thomas Ferguson, scholars who have not only sought to explain what is happening but what can be done about it.  

So why are incomes stagnating (which at least he admits is happening)?

[T]he benefits of the most recent waves of technological innovation have accrued disproportionately to the most talented and well-educated members of society.This phenomenon helped cause the massive growth of inequality in the United States over the past generation. In 1974, the top one percent of families took home nine percent of GDP; by 2007, that share had increased to 23.5 percent.

Trade and tax policies may have accelerated this trend, but the real villain here is technology...

Yes technology, not the free flow of capital which has allowed outsourcing, technology is the reason everyone is losing their jobs and wages are going down.  

First, lets dispel the myth that "financial wizards or software engineers" as he puts it, are the richest and "most talented" of society.

As Paul Krugman points out the vast majority of the wealth generated by the top 1 percent is overwhelmingly by non-financial managers, that is, bosses and CEOs of large companies. The so called "financial wizards or software engineers" (taken rather generously) only make up 21.4% of the group.

That being said, as numerous scholars have pointed out, the reason for the inequality has been among other things, deregulation and policies that favor the wealthy, not a couple of wiz kids that benefited off the new technology.    

So what's the point of the article? Quite literally, it's that the end of history is still true but we need a strong middle class and not be so fanatical about free markets. That's it.

In fact, it's not even clear that "end of history" of global liberal democracy is threatened by market fundamentalism, he just makes it a point to say it's bad.    

And for whatever reason, he felt the need to shove in as many outdated talking points and flat out false assertions as possible. If Fox News were smarter at doing their jobs they would book Fukuyama as much as possible.

Originally posted to CartoonDiablo on Sat Apr 14, 2012 at 10:23 PM PDT.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good diary (17+ / 0-)

    Thanks for posting such an interesting diary.  Its amazing how long these guys like Fukuyama can keep blathering on, and keep on being wrong.

    Do not go gentle into that good night. Blog, blog against the dying of the light. CathiefromCanada

    by CathiefromCanada on Sat Apr 14, 2012 at 10:44:13 PM PDT

  •  The Tea Party was also heavily subsidized, (21+ / 0-)

    as were its candidates, and got hundreds of hour of free publicity on FOX, while OWS was largely ignored in the beginning.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Sat Apr 14, 2012 at 10:58:11 PM PDT

  •  The tea party (10+ / 0-)

    Has elected a significant chunk of the house of representatives and unseated sitting senators.  OWS is nowhere near in the same league

    •  And by UNLESS... (0+ / 0-)

      I'm going to assume you mean we GOTV.

      Or in less proper terms, we GOTMFV!

      Everyone who took the time to protest will hopefully also take the time to vote. A few might benefit from a reminder.

    •  Except OWS was started (3+ / 0-)

      AFTER the 2010 elections so that comparison is unfair. For all we know a ton of liberals will be elected this fall because of the income inequality message. It's too soon to tell.

      Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

      by Matt Z on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 03:44:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My thought exactly. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FiredUpInCA

      They have made large, concrete inroads on their agenda.  And they are snowballing with all the recent anti women legislation.

      Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

      by Smoh on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 03:57:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Except one small detail (0+ / 0-)

      Only 37% of self-identified "tea party" candidates actually got elected and OWS isn't based on electing people, they're based on changing the system.

      It's akin to saying the ANC was unsuccessful in South Africa in 1988 because they couldn't get Nelson Mandella elected.

      That aside, for a comparison of left elections, see the Wisconsin fight, they had more recall elections than any in US history, including the governor.  

      •  Well (0+ / 0-)

        Good luck with that.  Even by that measure the teaprty has worked more systemic change.  They have a might wind at their backs though

        •  I've addressed it elsewhere but (0+ / 0-)

          The Tea Party's "systemic change" won't last up to the next elections let alone for the long run.

          Their bills either fail or if they do get passed, they are immediately thrown out because of how blatantly crazy and illegal they are.

          On the other hand, a sustained push from many people, ie the occupy movement does have long run effects despite not immediately taking effect.  

          Just take Wisconsin, are you really saying that Scott Walker passing the bill shows "systemic change"? He along with the rest of the legislature will probably be thrown out and all their efforts will be reversed because of an actual movement.

          •  you mean like the ACA? (0+ / 0-)

            Remember, there was a time that was a right wing idea, but by pushing the right wing so far to the nutso, we now have it being pushed by a Democrat.  I've seen systemic change all right.

            •  The ACA is more a reflection of the political (0+ / 0-)

              system as whole since drug and health insurance companies weren't in favor of single payer or the public option. Had the tea party not existed, it might have been marginally better but not by much.

              The fact is, most of the tea party "accomplishments" will implode while Occupy will keep pushing.

              Just look at what's happening with companies withdrawing from ALEC, the media discussion changing from deficits etc.

              those accomplishments wont go away after a new election.

  •  he seems to view world from tea colored glasses (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Matt Z, Marie
  •  The Tea Party delivered votes to Congress (10+ / 0-)

    As much as I detest their actions in Congress and what the principles they claim to represent, when election time came they won many races at all levels.

    Whether the Tea Party can hold those gains is an open question and might depend on to what  extent the OWS movement influences this cycle, if they influence it all.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Sat Apr 14, 2012 at 11:56:03 PM PDT

    •  Yeah... (4+ / 0-)

      It's a little bit like comparing the numbers of people who demonstrated for and against the Iraq war.

      Millions demonstrated against. But they didn't follow through. They didn't go howling after the scalps of any politician who disagreed with them. They just made their point and went home.

      "Given the fact of servitude, the feudal relationship is the only tolerable one." (George Orwell)

      by sagesource on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 12:05:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which is what the modern left does and is about (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        johnny wurster, Marie, duufus

        for the most part, conscience-salving theatrics with little political follow-through. Kind of like Obama's increasingly populist campaign speeches, the substance of which he absolutely will not follow through with upon reelection. And unlike much of the left, I'm not sure that he even cares.

        Today's left is about scripted outrage. Not that the right's outrage is any different, for the most part. But they have follow-through, and their leaders have teeth.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 01:02:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Tea Party also derailed healthcare reform (4+ / 0-)

      In part because Democrats made the stupendously-stupid blunder of holding truly open townhall meetings on healthcare, which the Tea Party took advantage of by crashing and turning the headlines to their favor. It was a collossal blunder by Democratic leaders, that probably cost us the public-option and perhaps more. Wtf were Democratic leaders thinking? Did they learn nothing from 32 years of Republicans controlling the media? If you have a 'townhall' then you limit who can come, it's that simple. It's a marketing device, not a consensus-building mechanism, let alone a decision-making one.

      Fukuyama is wrong on many things, but he's not an idiot.

  •  Fukuyama & Friedman (4+ / 0-)

    What a great comedy team that would be.

    A "moderate" in this environment is a person who splits the difference between half-assed government and a total shitpile.

    by Dinclusin on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 12:25:07 AM PDT

  •  The Tea Party actually primaried politicians that (3+ / 0-)

    acted against the tea party's principles.

    And they elected a slug of congress folks.

    OWS has a way to go to get beyond just making themselves look concerned and foolish.

    Democratic politicians do not give a rat's ass about progressives let alone OWS'ers.

    •  Tea Party elected a congress of slugs.n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      laserhaas, Matt Z

      "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

      by 417els on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 02:36:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes indeedy, but they are and continue (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe wobblie

        to be tbagger slugs. Can we say that our dems have stayed as true to us? Nope, they are true to the mythological beast of the centrist, the indies who cannot make up their minds.

        Congress is at 9% approval rating - within the +/- of making herpes more popular than congress! - Webranding

        by glitterscale on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 06:53:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I would agree with Fukuyama (7+ / 0-)

    about how OWS hasn't YET had as much political impact as the tea party. He didn't say which was louder or more popular, but which had more impact. The tea party was instrumental in the 2010 election fiasco. So far OWS hasn't even toppled a single governor (although it has brought down lower-level politicians).

    Of course, this may well change. I hope it does. But SO FAR, I think it's true.

    As for his analysis of the primary beneficiaries of income inequality over the past few decades, having myself worked for several firms that at the time were among the top financial firms in the US, as a techie working on financial software (among other things), he's got it wrong. Everyone did ok at these firms, but the people making the most money were top execs and a handful of top traders and bankers, who exploited the hard work of underlings to do so IMO (and often illegally).

    Fukuyama is still way too much of a believer in the triumph of rational thought and behavior in the real world to be of much use. The system is gamed and has not self-regulated in any morally rational manner.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 12:57:26 AM PDT

  •  I saw him speak in '92 (5+ / 0-)

    McGill University. The mood was electrified. Packed with academics and a smattering of politicians and others from the chattering class. The Q&A was hopping. And he failed to convince me that it wasn't a lot of rubbish.

    Like most world-explaining constructions invented by humanity, Hegel’s dialectic acts as catnip on susceptible souls. Once one is seduced, everything seems marvelously clear and, above all, necessary: all important questions have been answered beforehand and the only real task is to apply the method to clean up the untoward messiness of reality. It is very exiciting. “All of the really big questions,” as Francis Fukuyama puts it in his preface, “had been settled.” But the problem with such constructs is that they insulate their adherents from empirical reality: since everything unfolds “necessarily” according to a preordained plan, nothing that merely happens in the world can alter the itinerary.

    -- Francis Fukuyama and the end of History

    However, i think you're missing his point here a bit.
    Apparently he's never heard of Noam Chomsky, Gar Alperovitz, Michael Albert or Thomas Ferguson
    Those are all freshly-elected members of Congress, right?
    Yes technology, not the free flow of capital which has allowed outsourcing, technology is the reason everyone is losing their jobs and wages are going down.
    Yes, technology makes possible most of the inequity we're seeing. Picture junior or Mitt Romney living in a cave and see how far he gets. And if he gets, why (and with what) he gets.
    [T]he benefits of the most recent waves of technological innovation have accrued disproportionately to the most talented and well-educated members of society.
    Your complaint with this statement seems to be that these people only account for 21.4% of the top 1% of society. Am i reading this right? Because i think the clue here is the word disproportionally. And the fact that, while 99% may make for a nice slogan, it nonetheless still represents a very broad spectrum. I think all that Mr Fukushima is pointing out (and no big revelation here) is that those people lacking in education are getting screwed the worst.

    All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

    by subtropolis on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 01:23:34 AM PDT

    •  Very cogent post. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, subtropolis

      Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

      by Smoh on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 04:06:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  COLOSSAL Error Here: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      native, Marie, subtropolis
      [T]he benefits of the most recent waves of technological innovation have accrued disproportionately to the most talented and well-educated members of society
      I said this 40 years ago when I was a hot local small sailboat racer and already had teaching and coaching experience:

      I could walk into any large Black ghetto in the country and spend 2 weeks recruiting. Within 10 years that squad could sweep the Olympic yacht races.

      There's never been a second I haven't stood by that statement in terms of the sport at the time I first made it.

      Pundits visible in our society are becoming so rare-air that I honestly don't know if he really confuses talent with skills that are the product of luck, privilege and preparation.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:15:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's absolutely true (sorta) (0+ / 0-)

        Though as an academic Fukuyama is referring to those people who have been trained such that they are recognised as being talented—thus accruing a disproportionate share of the benefits. Besides, he's not saying that someone without said training and education cannot "move up" but that those people who do have a significant advantage. Again, no great revelation there.

        And on that topic, have a look at this just in at The Guardian:

        AvTech is run by Mawuli, a fisherman's daughter who implored Porter to train her after she saw his plane fly overhead while cutting trees in the bush.

        "I consider aviation to have a key role to play in a developing nation like Ghana," she says. "I started out cutting trees from the runway with a machete, and today I can tell people I'm a pilot and an aeroplane engineer. That is spectacular, it is exceptional.

        Hitler's pilot helped Ghana's girls to fly

        Terrific story. I want to know more about this.

        All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

        by subtropolis on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 11:20:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's axiomatic that the logic (at best) is flawed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie

    Koch's and others fund the Tea Party; which stated it was to fight tyranny and corruption. But is really pro GOP (and therefore FOR tyranny and corruption).

    It starts out saying there's no great upsurge - but denotes the Occupy movement.

    Koch's and others funded TP

    Occupy was - being not 1 goal focused - a Major upsurge by people here (and in the world) - upset at the status quo.

    If you desire a better world - be a better person.

    by laserhaas on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 02:37:38 AM PDT

  •  That's the nice thing about an opinion. We can (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, Marie

    always just make up the facts to support one.

    I'd rather have a buntle afrota-me than a frottle a bunta-me.

    by David54 on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 04:15:41 AM PDT

  •  Not technology, but the politics of privilege. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie

    Income inequality has exploded across the "liberal democracies" that Fukuyama has so inaccurately analyzed, but this is absolutely not due to "technology". Rather, it's the re-imposition of a rigid class hierarchy, based on wealth and the privileged access to essentials like excellent education and health care such wealth provides, at a time when public education and access to health care are rapidly deteriorating.

    It's simply that in today's corporate media defined culture, wealth buys political power. Wealth buys its own immunity from the rules the 99% have to follow.

  •  Order of Magnitude Check: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, glitterscale, Marie
     
    the most dynamic recent populist movement to date has been the right-wing Tea Party
    Lets step back for a second, he is actually saying that the Occupy movement has had less impact or attendance than the Tea Party movement.
    It's not a movement asshole.

    Of course it's had more impact, it's a collection of billionaire donors and indy campaign air warriors. Occupy on the other hand is nothing but a collection of occupants of the territory.

    This moron is 9 orders of magnitude off.

    The Tea "Party's" billionaires have introduced 916 anti-women's rights bills across the country in the last 3 months alone. Occupy probably hasn't gotten speakers into legislative chambers 10 times yet.

    It has been several decades since anyone on the left has been able to articulate,
    Everyone he's heard articulating is not on the left.

    The Democratic party became a conservative party before Disco. Since that time the main work of both parties has been to contain and defeat the left. It's the biggest mission they're both working on at this moment.

    Most of this community and the country still shares his fantasy that the Democratic party is left of center so I can't really pile on to him for this viewpoint.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:01:27 AM PDT

    •  Oops Calling FF Not Diarist "Asshole." Sorry!! nt (0+ / 0-)

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 05:02:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Movements and Non-Movements (0+ / 0-)

      Well I'd say it's almost the opposite in the sense that the occupiers are an actual movement while the Tea Party is more of a political tactic to help billionaires.

      While the GOP and Tea Party has introduced legislation, it's not sustainable in the long run, or even towards the next election.

      Of those bills not many actually become (or will become) law and the ones that do are immediately thrown out because of how blatantly illegal they are. Recently Rachel Maddow revealed that in Michigan probably most of the legislation passed there was done so illegally.

      The fact is, this model of getting crazies into the government through corporate money will implode on itself.  

  •  History sure hasn't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie

    It seems to have gone blithely on without his approval.

    The power of the Occupy movement is that it ....realizes a fundamental truth about American politics… there is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs.

    by orson on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 07:11:37 AM PDT

  •  He might be right (0+ / 0-)

    that the middle class, defined as an energy wasting, beef eating, consumer culture, might be doomed.  He may be right that that is why occupy is not embraced by a good many Americans who will identify more with the world's 1% than the world's 99% until they can't any longer.  That day is coming imho.

    That isn't a reason to believe that the occupy movement is wrong or that another, fairer world isn't possible.

    I think I've just articulated the concept of a good society.

    "A Republic, if you can keep it."

    by Publius2008 on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:01:01 AM PDT

  •  Fukuyama an ironic anti-neocon (0+ / 0-)

    His entire "end of history" thesis, in addition to being proven wrong by events engineered by his fellow travelers (he has had enough sense to disavow it), is in many ways the exact opposite of what the neocons want.  In his attempt to "prove" the inevitability of American hegemony, he postulates a world that has seen the final irrevocable triumph of liberal democracy, secular humanism, and free market capitalism - defended by a tireless, altruistic, and effectively omnipotent American empire - to the extent that there is no longer any basis for that empire to exist since there is no longer any motive for conflict between people.

    Right-wing "scholars" have been bemoaning the alleged collapse of civic and personal virtue in the face of bourgeois comfort for centuries: a long line of doomsayers wringing their hands at the prospect of impotent vestigial states full of fat and happy drones who care nothing for God, country, and personal honor, much less being ready and able to kill and die for them at the command of a king who embodies those virtues.  The post-historical future - the land of Neitzsche's "last man" - will be a sort of spiritual death of humanity: no more heroes, no more Faustian striving for what we cannot have, etc.

    Thomas Friedman's "world is flat" thesis can be thought of as a shiny happy version of the same post-historical condition: where politics, religion, and culture fade into irrelevance as we're all too busy making money and having fun.  Sense of Self and Other become untenable through exposure (the internet, mobility, immigration, etc.) and physical interdependency.  Objective and universally valid science defines our collective reality and leaves little or no room for dividing ourselves along arbitrary moral or ideological lines.

    Never attribute to stupidity what can be adequately explained by malice; stupid people couldn't hurt us so effectively.

    by Visceral on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:12:23 AM PDT

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