Farrar, Straus and Giroux
April 12, 2011
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 into the origins of democratic societies and raises essential questions about the nature of politics and its discontents.
Francis Fukuyama is the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. He has previously taught at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and the George Mason University School of Public Policy. Fukuyama was a researcher at the RAND Corporation and served as Deputy Director in the State Department’s policy planning staff. He is the author of The End of History and the Last Man, Trust, and America at a Crossroads. He lives with his wife in California.