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63 pages 2 hours read

Francis Fukuyama

The End of History and the Last Man

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1992

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Part 2Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 2: “The Old Age of Mankind”

Chapter 5 Summary and Analysis: “An Idea for a Universal History”

In the second part of The End of History, the author tackles the relevant theoretical questions that allow him to argue in favor of the liberal democratic system as the perceived and desirable end point of human development. He addresses the possibility of a “Universal History of Mankind” (55). The direction of historic development is also noteworthy, as is its continuity. Fukuyama discusses cyclical and unidirectional variants. He also wonders whether historic progress can be reversed in a scenario that does not involve the full wiping out of human civilization at large through a global catastrophe. The author then moves on to more specific questions such as creativity and technological innovation under different ideologies. For this purpose, he compares the Soviet Union, China, and East Germany to the West. Fukuyama is also interested in the question of why some countries outside the West did not embrace capitalism and how that affected their development. Literacy and education play an important role in shaping people’s ideological leanings.

First, Fukuyama examines a universal history of humanity and acknowledges that the “effort to write a Universal History is itself not universal to all peoples and cultures” (55). He also recognizes that it was not until the establishment of Christian societies in the West that attempts to write a truly universal history were made.

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