In Liberalism and Its Discontents, Francis Fukuyama diagnoses the political and psychological malaise caused by capitalism. His analysis makes one thing clear: liberalism is incapable of addressing the social, economic, and ecological crises it faces.
by Samuel McIlhagga
In a CNN interview, after another round of the US government’s sanctions on Russia, the following exchange took place between the show’s host and President Joe Biden’s economic adviser Brian Deese:
CNN: What do you say to those families that say, “Listen, we can’t afford to pay $4.85 a gallon for months if not years, this is just not sustainable”?
Deese: Well, what you heard from the president today was a clear articulation of the stakes. . . . This is about the future of the liberal world order and we have to stand firm.
The events of the past two years, from the start of the global pandemic to the war in Ukraine, and now the global food shortage, are clear signs that liberalism, as a global economic and political system, is in crisis. For now, following the latest bout of ill-health, no plausible challengers have been able to put liberal capitalism out of its misery.
No one has done more to support the idea of liberalism’s resilience and universality than Francis Fukuyama.
Fukuyama gained a level of international fame in the 1990s as a policy planner at the State Department when he wrote, first, in 1989, a journal article for The National Interest titled “The End of History?” and then, in 1992, an extended treatise, The End of History and the Last Man. His most recent offering, Liberalism and Its Discontents, released in May of this year, reprises the themes of his previous works.