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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 The Origins of Political Order, Francis Fukuyama took us from the dawn of mankind to the French and American Revolutions. Here, he picks up the thread again in the second instalment of his definitive account of mankind's emergence as a political animal. This is the story of how state, law and democracy developed after these cataclysmic events, how the modern landscape - with its uneasy tension between dictatorships and liberal democracies - evolved and how in the United States and in other developed democracies, unmistakable signs of decay have emerged. If we want to understand the political systems that dominate and order our lives, we must first address their origins - in our own recent past as well as in the earliest systems of human government. Fukuyama argues that the key to successful government can be reduced to three key elements: a strong state, the rule of law and institutions of democratic accountability. This magisterial account is required reading for anyone wishing to know more about mankind's greatest achievements.
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.
Re-examines the long and complex history of democracy and broadens the traditional view of this history by complementing it with examples from unexplored or under-examined quarters.
This book critically examines the challenges, successes, and failures of the post-1994 South African state against the humane values enshrined in its constitution: nonracial democracy and respect for all generations of human rights—civil, political, social, economic, resources and the environment and gender and communication. The book sheds light on the difficulties faced by the State when trying to bring together a diverse society comprised of traditional South African, Western-based and "other" African (immigrant) cultures into a cohesive nation with a common South African identity. The views of the essays may not be entirely consistent and the issues they raise may be contentious. This merely affirms the truism that the State is a contested terrain. The aim of this book is to deepen the search for an understanding of the theory of the State as it applies to a transforming society such as ours and to trudge the dividing line between theory and practice so they can feed into each other in a progressive spiral towards the desired end-state.
In this addition to the acclaimed Engaging Culture series, a highly respected author and Christian thinker offers a principled, biblical perspective on engaging political culture as part of one's calling. James Skillen believes that constructive Christian engagement depends on the belief that those made in the image of God are created not only for family life, agriculture, education, science, industry, and the arts but also for building political communities, justly ordered for the common good. He argues that God made us to be royal stewards of public governance from the outset and that the biblical story of God's creation, judgment, and redemption of all things in Jesus Christ has everything to do with politics and government. In this irenic, nonpartisan treatment of an oft-debated topic, Skillen critically assesses current political realities and helps readers view responsibility in the political arena as a crucial dimension of the Christian faith.
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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