In his bestselling The End of History and the Last Man, Francis Fukuyama argued that the end of the Cold War would also mean the beginning of a struggle for position in the rapidly emerging order of 21st-century capitalism. In Trust, a penetrating assessment of the emerging global economic order "after History," he explains the social principles of economic life and tells us what we need to know to win the coming struggle for world dominance.
Challenging orthodoxies of both the left and right, Fukuyama examines a wide range of national cultures in order to divine the underlying principles that foster social and economic prosperity. Insisting that we cannot divorce economic life from cultural life, he contends that in an era when social capital may be as important as physical capital, only those societies with a high degree of social trust will be able to create the flexible, large-scale business organizations that are needed to compete in the new global economy.
A brilliant study of the interconnectedness of economic life with cultural life, Trust is also an essential antidote to the increasing drift of American culture into extreme forms of individualism, which, if unchecked, will have dire consequences for the nation's economic health.
In his acclaimed The End of History and the Last Man, Rand Corporation analyst Fukuyama argued that capitalist democracy is the ultimate goal of history, the highest form of socioeconomic organization. His audacious premise in this provocative new study is that the degree of trust and social cohesion in a particular society greatly influences that nation's economic well-being and global competitiveness. France, Italy, South Korea and China, in his schema, are family-oriented societies with relatively low levels of trust among strangers. In such countries, he maintains, state intervention is often the only way to build large-scale industries, and inefficient public administration, political corruption and fragmented party systems are common. By contrast, Germany and Japan, superpowers marked by a highly developed sense of societal trust and communal solidarity, readily developed large-scale enterprises and professional management. In the United States, Fukuyama maintains, the upsurge of individualism at the expense of community--combined with rising crime and litigation, the breakdown of families and the decline of neighborhoods, clubs, associations--weakens our overall global competitiveness and augurs a more intrusive government to regulate social relations. Fukuyama's bold attempt to link cultural values to economic performance is bound to stir controversy.
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Whether you are looking at politics, economics, or social behavior, this book is an essential tool to understanding human behavior.