"Are we entering the age of the autocrat? It’s certainly tempting to think so after watching Russia’s recent clobbering of Georgia. That invasion clearly marks a new phase in world politics, but it’s a mistake to think that the future belongs to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and his fellow despots." – says Francis Fukuyama, author of famouse essay "The end of History?". Read his article recently published at washington Post under title "They Can Only Go So Far". FULL ARTICLE
Brief history of Fukuyama’s "The end of History".
Fukuyama’s thesis consists of three main elements. First, there is an empirical argument. Fukuyama points out that since the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, democracy, which started off as being merely one among many systems of government, has grown until nowadays the majority of governments in the world are termed "democratic". He also points out that democracy’s main intellectual alternatives (which he takes to be various forms of dictatorship) have become discredited.
Second, there is a philosophical argument examining the influence of thymos (or human spiritedness). Fukuyama argues that the original battles for prestige among the first men of history, and the willingness of some to risk their lives in order to receive recognition from another is an unnecessary form of human behaviour within a democracy. In essence; the roles of master and slave are rationally understood by both parties to be unsatisfying and self-defeating. This follows the work of Hegel and an anglo-saxon tradition typified by John Locke’s ideas on self preservation and the right to property.
Finally Fukuyama also argues that for a variety of reasons radical socialism (or communism) is likely to be incompatible with modern representative democracy. Therefore, in the future, democracies are overwhelmingly likely to contain markets of some sort, and most are likely to be capitalist or social democratic.
But Fukuyama’s work lead to Misinterpretations. According to Fukuyama, since the French Revolution, democracy has repeatedly proven to be a fundamentally better system (ethically, politically, economically) than any of the alternatives. The most basic (and prevalent) error in discussing Fukuyama’s work is to confuse ‘history’ with ‘events’. Fukuyama does not claim at any point that events will stop happening in the future. What he is claiming is that all that will happen in the future (even if totalitarianism returns) is that democracy will become more and more prevalent in the long term, although it may have ‘temporary’ setbacks (which may, of course, last for centuries).
Some argue that Fukuyama presents ‘American-style’ democracy as the only ‘correct’ political system and that all countries must inevitably follow this particular government system; however, many Fukuyama scholars claim this is a misreading of his work. Fukuyama’s argument is only that in the future there will be more and more governments that use the framework of parliamentary democracy and that contain markets of some sort. Indeed, Fukuyama has stated:
"The End of History was never linked to a specifically American model of social or political organisation. Following Alexandre Kojève, the Russian-French philosopher who inspired my original argument, I believe that the European Union more accurately reflects what the world will look like at the end of history than the contemporary United States. The EU’s attempt to transcend sovereignty and traditional power politics by establishing a transnational rule of law is much more in line with a "post-historical" world than the Americans’ continuing belief in God, national sovereignty, and their military."