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A New York Times Notable Book for 2011 A Globe and Mail Best Books of the Year 2011 Title A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction of 2011 title Virtually all human societies were once organized tribally, yet over time most developed new political institutions which included a central state that could keep the peace and uniform laws that applied to all citizens. Some went on to create governments that were accountable to their constituents. We take these institutions for granted, but they are absent or are unable to perform in many of today's developing countries—with often disastrous consequences for the rest of the world. Francis Fukuyama, author of the bestselling The End of History and the Last Man and one of our most important political thinkers, provides a sweeping account of how today's basic political institutions developed. The first of a major two-volume work, The Origins of Political Order begins with politics among our primate ancestors and follows the story through the emergence of tribal societies, the growth of the first modern state in China, the beginning of the rule of law in India and the Middle East, and the development of political accountability in Europe up until the eve of the French Revolution. Drawing on a vast body of knowledge—history, evolutionary biology, archaeology, and economics—Fukuyama has produced a brilliant, provocative work that offers fresh insights on the origins of democratic societies and raises essential questions about the nature of politics and its discontents.
In this book, we have hand-picked the most sophisticated, unanticipated, absorbing (if not at times crackpot!), original and musing book reviews of "The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution." Don't say we didn't warn you: these reviews are known to shock with their unconventionality or intimacy. Some may be startled by their biting sincerity; others may be spellbound by their unbridled flights of fantasy. Don't buy this book if: 1. You don't have nerves of steel. 2. You expect to get pregnant in the next five minutes. 3. You've heard it all.
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 intellectuals of our time." And in The Washington Post, Gerard DeGrott exclaimed "this is a book that will be remembered. Bring on volume two." Volume two is finally here, completing the most important work of political thought in at least a generation. Taking up the essential question of how societies develop strong, impersonal, and accountable political institutions, Fukuyama follows the story from the French Revolution to the so-called Arab Spring and the deep dysfunctions of contemporary American politics. He examines the effects of corruption on governance, and why some societies have been successful at rooting it out. He explores the different legacies of colonialism in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and offers a clear-eyed account of why some regions have thrived and developed more quickly than others. And he boldly reckons with the future of democracy in the face of a rising global middle class and entrenched political paralysis in the West. A sweeping, masterful account of the struggle to create a well-functioning modern state, Political Order and Political Decay is destined to be a classic.
Weigang Chen's analysis of the legacy of "Confucian Marxism" presents a challenging framework for understanding the politics of "civilizational" diversity and the tenability of a global democratic order.
Can the G-20 become a steering committee for the world's economy? Launched at a moment of panic triggered by the financial crisis in late 2008, the leaders' level G-20 is trying to evolve from crisis committee for the world economy to a real steering group facilitating international economic cooperation. What can and should such a "steering committee" focus on? How important could the concrete gains from cooperation be? How much faster could world growth be? Is there sufficient legitimacy in the G-20 process? How does the G-20 relate to the IMF and the World Bank? How can Australia in 2015, and then Turkey in 2016, chair the process so as to encourage strategic leadership? The East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University and the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution joined forces in putting together this volume and asked opinion leaders and policymakers from G-20 countries to provide their independent perspectives. Contributors include Colin Bradford (Brookings), Peter Drysdale (Australian National University), Kemal Dervis (Brookings), Andrew Elek (Australian National University), Ross Garnaut (University of Melbourne), Huang Yiping (China Center for Economic Research), Bruce Jones (Brookings), Muneesh Kapur (IMF), Homi Kharas (Brookings), Wonhyuk Lim (Korea Development Institute), Rakesh Mohan (IMF), David Nellor (consultant, Indonesia), Yoshio Okubo (Japan Securities Dealers Association), Mari Pangestu (Republic of Indonesia), Changyong Rhee (former Asian Development Bank), Alok Sheel (Government of India), Mahendra Siregar (Republic of Indonesia), Paola Subacchi (Chatham House, London), Carlos Vegh (Brookings), Guillermo Vuletin (Brookings), and Maria Monica Wihardja (World Bank).
A revealing look at the role kin-based societies have played throughout history and around the world A lively, wide-ranging meditation on human development that offers surprising lessons for the future of modern individualism, The Rule of the Clan examines the constitutional principles and cultural institutions of kin-based societies, from medieval Iceland to modern Pakistan. Mark S. Weiner, an expert in constitutional law and legal history, shows us that true individual freedom depends on the existence of a robust state dedicated to the public interest. In the absence of a healthy state, he explains, humans naturally tend to create legal structures centered not on individuals but rather on extended family groups. The modern liberal state makes individualism possible by keeping this powerful drive in check—and we ignore the continuing threat to liberal values and institutions at our peril. At the same time, for modern individualism to survive, liberals must also acknowledge the profound social and psychological benefits the rule of the clan provides and recognize the loss humanity sustains in its transition to modernity. Masterfully argued and filled with rich historical detail, Weiner's investigation speaks both to modern liberal societies and to developing nations riven by "clannism," including Muslim societies in the wake of the Arab Spring.
Bestselling author Michael Shermer's exploration of science and morality that demonstrates how the scientific way of thinking has made people, and society as a whole, more moral From Galileo and Newton to Thomas Hobbes and Martin Luther King, Jr., thinkers throughout history have consciously employed scientific techniques to better understand the non-physical world. The Age of Reason and the Enlightenment led theorists to apply scientific reasoning to the non-scientific disciplines of politics, economics, and moral philosophy. Instead of relying on the woodcuts of dissected bodies in old medical texts, physicians opened bodies themselves to see what was there; instead of divining truth through the authority of an ancient holy book or philosophical treatise, people began to explore the book of nature for themselves through travel and exploration; instead of the supernatural belief in the divine right of kings, people employed a natural belief in the right of democracy. In The Moral Arc, Shermer will explain how abstract reasoning, rationality, empiricism, skepticism--scientific ways of thinking--have profoundly changed the way we perceive morality and, indeed, move us ever closer to a more just world.

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