When American political scientist Francis Fukuyama published The End of History and the Last Man in 1992, Western liberal democracies seemed to have won the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Fukuyama believed liberal democracy had triumphed for a reason. Any political system containing “fundamental contradictions,” he thought, would eventually be replaced by something else. For Fukuyama, communism was such a system. He believed liberal democracy had no such fundamental contradictions, so it would endure, and other forms of government would eventually give way to it. For Fukuyama, democracy marks the end point in the evolution of ideology, and so the “end of history.” There would still be “events,” but not any fundamental change.
The book’s argument cannot so far be proven, of course. Although the number of liberal democracies has increased since 1990, they currently face threats Fukuyama had not foreseen in 1992. Yet the book still offers real food for thought for anyone who cares about politics.