Democracy, Globalization and the Future of History: A Chinese Interview with Francis Fukuyama+

By Yitian, Li; Jiagang, Chen et al. | International Journal of China Studies, April 2012 | Go to article overview

Democracy, Globalization and the Future of History: A Chinese Interview with Francis Fukuyama+


Yitian, Li, Jiagang, Chen, Xiaoyuan, Xue, Hairong, Lai, International Journal of China Studies


Abstract

Francis Fukuyama (... * ...), the famous American philosopher and political scientist, visited the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau (CCTB) in December 2010. He gave a speech on the Forum of CCTB in which he interpreted in detail his ideas about the financial crisis and recent development of Capitalism. After the forum, he was interviewed by the journal of Marxism and Reality, and had a thorough talk on the topic of "Democracy, Globalization and the Future of History". Professor Fukuyama answered the questions raised by the scholars in CCTB systematically. The following is the content of the dialogue.

Keywords: Francis Fukuyama, democracy, globalization, history

JEL classification: B14, H11 , N35, Z13

(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)

1. Communal Culture and Political Trust

Li Yitian: Hello, Professor Fukuyama! Welcome to CCTB and thank you for communicating with us. We know you have been interviewed in this way for many times and people often asked "big questions" to you. Nevertheless, I hope to begin our dialogue from some "small questions". Firstly, as a Japanese descendant born in the United States, why did you choose to be a scholar in humanities? Are there some influences from your family?

Fukuyama: Well, first of all, there are a lot of academics in my family. My grandfather on my mother's side was actually a very palmary economist in Japan. He in his generation went to study in Germany before the First World War. He helped found the economic department in Kyoto University and he was the President of Osaka Municipal University. Throughout his life he had written something like 50 books. It is interesting to visit your library for works on Marxism. My grandfather actually requested books from the library of the German sociologist Werner Sombart and brought the books back to Japan with him. I inherited from him the first edition of Karl Marx's Das Kapital. Also, my father was an academic. He was a sociologist. He worked at Pennsylvania State University. So it is natural for me to be a scholar.

Li Yitian: In your academic career, who are the most important persons to you? If you like, please name one historical figure and a contemporary thinker.

Fukuyama: Well, there were three people who were probably the most important. Unfortunately all of them have passed away. My earliest teacher was Allan Bloom, who was my teacher when I was in Cornell. From him, I developed the appreciation of western philosophy and learned Greek so I could read Plato and Aristotle and was introduced to all of the big philosophic questions. The next person who was important was Samuel Huntington, who was my teacher in graduate school, who was a social scientist, who also I think posed some very big important questions that are still being debated. So in a lot of introductory of international relation classes, "the end of history" is contrasted with his classic theory. My third important person was Seymour Martin Lipset who was a great political scientist and sociologist, who was my colleague when I first started teaching, from whom I learned a great deal about American politics and comparative methods.

Li Yitian: If I don't misremember, Allan Bloom wrote a famous book, The Closing of The American Mind, in which he showed his anxiety about the social problems and the future of the United States. You have pointed out that the most serious challenge in contemporary American society is still how to maintain the balance between individuals and communities. As for this issue, how do you consider the changes and stability in the US?

Fukuyama: I think that American society in a certain way hasn't been stabilized since the end of the 1990s. There were a lot of social dislocations during the 1970s and 1980s, which was reflected in family breakdown, high rate of crime and general lack of social trust among people. But I think that in some ways it peaked in the 1990s. …

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