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Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy

(Political Order)

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  2,645 ratings  ·  253 reviews
The second volume of the bestselling landmark work on the history of the modern state

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, David Gress called Francis Fukuyama's Origins of Political Order "magisterial in its learning and admirably immodest in its ambition." In The New York Times Book Review, Michael Lind described the book as "a major achievement by one of the leading public
Hardcover, 672 pages
Published September 30th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published September 25th 2014)
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4.35  · 
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 ·  2,645 ratings  ·  253 reviews

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You know, once Fukuyama started to drift away from neoconservative war chants and historical triumphalism, he's shown himself to be a savvy and subtle thinker. The detail in this book shows he is well aware of historical ambiguities and his eagerness to avoid prophecies.

This volume is the second in the author's series on political order. He describes it as a sequel of, and response to, Samuel Huntington's Political Order in Changing Societies, which sought to describe the process of political d
David Huff
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
This was a significant two-volume reading project that I found to be well worth the time. Volume One: "The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution" (on which I didn't write a separate review) was a broad, informative survey across a vast array of epochs and cultures, to understand how societies form, and how humanity moves from hunter-gatherer tribes to degrees of organized political institutions and states, to the development of modern democracies. Volume Two "P ...more
Gary  Beauregard Bottomley
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
There is a certain beauty to this book. The author completely convinces the listener that there is no more important field of study to understand the world and how we got where we are then Political Science. The author is that good at laying the foundations for his points. Moreover, the author is telling an incredible complicated story with many different moving parts but he excels at telling you what he's going to tell you, tells you, and then tells you what he just told you, and then just in c ...more
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
state formation - rule of law - accountability of political institutions.

These are the 3 key themes that Fukuyama explores. Traversing a wide range of societies, in this book he examines how political orders evolved and also decay since the industrial revolution. Any time there is a large shift in the economic/labor landscape the political system must catch up, reform, and craft new policy visions to deal with the new contemporary landscape. Yesterday's institutions are not always up to today's
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, history
Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy

Francis Fukuyama has followed up his previous volume The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution (2011) with Political Order and Political Decay, which takes us crashing through the 19th century up to current times. This volume is a mighty tome of political and historical analysis that at times does not make it an easy read but at the same time does make it an int
Peter Mcloughlin
Fukuyama gained fame or notoriety from his work in the early 90s "the end of history and the last man". In that book the author claimed like Hegel that world politics is converging on the "liberal democratic state". Since that time Fukuyama has moderated his claim and now has strongly nuanced and complicated his conclusion but 20 years on he has not abandoned it. He uses Huntington's incite that all good the good things of a Liberal Democratic State like Denmark don't come at once. An efficient ...more
Mar 31, 2016 rated it liked it
“Political Order And Political Decay” is the second volume of Francis Fukuyama’s two-book exploration of the political formation of societies. Or, more precisely, how they ultimately form, or fail to form, Fukuyama’s perfect political society, which is an idealized Denmark. And, how even if they do reach that point, they can then fall backward—not as a whole, but in their political organization, away from Fukuyama’s ideal.

Very explicitly, Fukuyama is not focused on all aspects of society. This i
Sorin Hadârcă
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Firstly, what I liked: Fukuyama takes risks in going against mainstream thinking and, at that, builds upon a megalithic knowledge of history (does he know everything?); he employs a method which has the appeal of being universal; he writes neatly and some of the parts (like the invention of modern bureaucracy in 18th century Prussia or emergence of clientelistic democracy in recent Italy) are as good as standalone pieces. To assert that authoritarian regimes were often more successful in state b ...more
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book in June 2016, and I'm writing a review in January 2018. Why the long lag? Because I had over 80 notes that I wanted to transcribe into Evernote and the process of doing that from an audiobook is exceedingly painful. It takes about 5 minutes per note, so I had about 8 hours of manual transcription to wade through. Today, at long last, I finally finished.

The fact that I was willing to spend 8 hours transcribing notes should tell you something about how much I loved this book,
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really a remarkable pair of books (this being volume 2). (If you can only afford to read one, I'd suggest this one, since it covers recent and contemporary nations.)

These are not easy books to get through. They are roughly equivalent to an undergrad class. There is an immense amount of information and scope here. However, they are not dry, they are just as engaging as a good university course! Assuming you like learning :)

More people need to read this type of book. You get the sense that the aut
Omar Ali
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the first volume more, probably because it made me think about more basic stuff, while this one is more a summary of the recent history (last 200 years) of the world. I learned an awful lot, more than you would get from ten other books, but somehow it did not solve any major puzzles. It just described them. More later...
Absolutely worth a read.
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This must be read by everyone before they vote--ever. The most fascinating takeaway for me was the critiques of American democracy and especially its vulnerability to decay through clientelism. It's also great that he doesn't take too western-centric of a view. The one criticism is that there are countries that challenge his thesis and he is sometimes selective in his illustrations.
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book and the first volume should not be missed, especially with the political climate today. If you liked Clash of Civilizations or Guns, Germs, & Steel, this is along the same lines but much better.
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2016
This book is a lengthy examination of what constitutes a healthy functioning political order, how such orders have developed historically, and what factors inevitably lead to the decay and decline of political orders over time.

Though we tend to associate the two, the state has often developed separate from the nation (and from democracy) in places where it exists meaningfully at all. The sequencing by which these institutions has developed in various places has had profound effects on the futur
Tariq Mahmood
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Societies need to develop before democracy can arrive, and it can only survive and thrive in nations with strong institutions. Democracy in countries with weak institutions are vulnerable, prone to regress. The only way for a people to help sustain democracy is to develop sound institutions. Fukuyama makes a solid case and presents a viable strategy for development.
Alex Zakharov
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Much sloppier and more uneven than the first volume but a worthwhile read nonetheless. I suspect that this review will follow the same pattern.

While the first volume favored historical narration over political development theory the second volume is sporting the opposite trend in a more condensed time period (last 200 years). Of course the more recent the history the less opportunity for time to do its magic of smoothing out speculative interpretations of events to reveal trends if there are an
Milton Soong
Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
[audio books] Grand historical analysis in the vein of Paul Kennedy & Jarred Diamond. This one covers the development of political institution. Note that this is part II and I did not read part I.
Some of the author's points: (not necessary in terms of importance).

1. The three key aspect of political development is political institution (and its effectiveness), accountability, and level of democratic participation.
2. He presented various examples showing example with a mixture of these traits
Rambling Reader
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, e-book
this volume is much better than the first volume imho
Vasil Kolev
Jun 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This will require some more time to digest, but the analysis and the depth are huge. Currently the best book on political and social processes I've read.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Interested in social science
Recommended to Lord_Humungus by: Teresa Giménez-Barbat
Review in English (not my mother tongue) and Spanish (below)

"The Origins of Political Order" and "Political Order and Political Decay" are a two volume magnum opus, a superb tour the force in social science.

I have been interested for some time in what has been called "the most important question in the social sciences": why has political and economic development been the way it has been? What causes explain the differences between countries? Why is Denmark a very developed country and Somalia is
Umair Khan
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
The American political scientist Francis Fukuyama gained much acclaim for his essay on the demise of the Soviet Union, The End of History? Although he shared reservations on the interpretation of his popular work, its main theme was simple: with the defeat of communism, liberal democracy was the only form of government compatible with socioeconomic modernity.

However, the politico-economic developments of the last two decades stand in contradiction to Fukuyama’s triumphant prophecy. China has suc
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
Professor Fukuyama rounds off his two-part work on the history and development of political structures and institutions with this tome which covers how governments functioned (or didn't) from the American, French and Industrial Revolutions until contemporary times. Salient topics are the rise of accountable government (or "democracy"), the effects of the various types of colonialism on the differing paths the "developing world" took after the World Wars, why some countries managed to obtain very ...more
Aarish Khan
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
First up, I would strongly recommend reading the companion volume of this book The Origins of Political Order before this one. That book actually sets the stage for this one by describing the development of political order as evolution of the state, rule of law, and accountability. It’s only in the context of the evolution of these three concepts that one can discern the essential elements of political order and political decay laid out in this volume.

Like its companion volume, it’s loaded with
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent and very timely book which provides the deep-seated reasons for most of the political upheavals we have been witnessing in the past couple of years.

At this point in my life it was the perfect book for me because it explains in a clear, easily understandable and comprehensive manner the world we are living in. For this purpose, it pulls together a great many threads and insights from several areas of expertise such as law, history and anthropology, economics, geography, biology and psyc
Filippo Pacifici
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is enlightening. I read it twice to get all the nuances.
The problem addressed is one of the most complex in the world and the author does not claim to have a solution.
On the other hand, every aspect of the problem is explored with very deep analysis on real cases (a lot of them) and countries. Examples are clientelism in Greece and Italy, national identity building in Indonesia, impact of foreign interventions in central Africa, Institutions decay in the US, etc.
Even relatively recent
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book, while a bit repetitive, did a great job of sticking to its thesis and systematically unpacking that thesis through the lens of multiple views and arguments. As well as he could based on available sources, I found his use of data and context gave a strong foundation for his conclusions and observations. I'd love to see an updated version just for the last few chapters outlining political decay in the United States in the era we're currently in for 2018. Fukuyama's framework does a grea ...more
Zach Mazlish
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So rich with analysis and informative content at almost every point. The scope makes it hard to remember many particular examples, but the particulars build up to a compelling and memorable picture of the complexity of political institutions and what makes them succeed/fail. I want to read more critiques because he presents things in what seems like such a matter-of-fact and nuanced way that it is hard to know what he’s missing, but I’m sure there are many things. Also I do think this type of bo ...more
Samuel Peck
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as succinct and lucid as the prior volume - was quite repetitive at times - but nonetheless a pretty good sequel and continuation of a multidisciplinary and learned overview of modern political history.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars, would read again.
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a super long book, but I found it interesting the whole time! It helped me see some of the problems the U.S. government faces in a different light and to understand the causes better.
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Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama (born 27 October 1952) is an American philosopher, political economist, and author.

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 Fu

Other books in the series

Political Order (2 books)
  • The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution
“In societies where incomes and educational levels are low, it is often far easier to get supporters to the polls based on a promise of an individual benefit rather than a broad programmatic agenda.” 4 likes
“The displacement of class politics by identity politics has been very confusing to older Marxists, who for many years clung to the old industrial working class as their preferred category of the underprivileged. They tried to explain this shift in terms of what Ernest Gellner labeled the “Wrong Address Theory”: “Just as extreme Shi’ite Muslims hold that Archangel Gabriel made a mistake, delivering the Message to Mohamed when it was intended for Ali, so Marxists basically like to think that the spirit of history or human consciousness made a terrible boob. The awakening message was intended for classes, but by some terrible postal error was delivered to nations.” 3 likes
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