Two years ago I attended a talk by Francis Fukuyama in Berkeley about his (then) forthcoming book Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy, now published of course. The book identifies ‘the state’, the ‘rule of law’ and ‘democracy’ as the main elements for successful political development. So far so uncontroversial, at least for the mainstream Western readership. But, then, Fukuyuma, being a historian, identifies certain historical factors that have shown to matter for each of those elements – and some of those may have a certain shock value for Western readers. For example:
- Wars and a strong military often led to the development of effective bureaucracies (ie peaceful countries have a disadvantage).
- Ethnic cleansing was often crucial for the formation of national identities and nation building (and thus 'the state'). And radical Islam may play a corresponding role.
- Clientelism is an early form of democracy. And building an effective state without democratic accountability may initially be better than developing both together.