Summary of Primacy of Culture by Francis Fukuyama Essay

1470 Words Apr 26th, 2003 6 Pages
By Francis Fukuyama

Democracy's Future –

Francis Fukuyama argues that for any new ideology or political trend to emerge that rival those of liberal democracy, it requires the precursor of developments at the level of civic society and culture. Accordingly, he sees the only civic society, and culture that seems poised to do so is Asia. Fukuyama bases his judgment on the claim that for the consolidation of democracy, there must exist four levels of change: On the first level is Ideology, followed by Institutions, then Civil Society, and finally, Culture. At the level of ideological change, believes about the merits and demerits of democracy and its encumberent market structure, must first be rationalized.
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He states that western societies begin from an ideological level, then move to institutions, then to civil society, and finally to culture. On the other hand, Asian societies develop in an opposing order, beginning with a culture of strong moral education, which then leaves civil society, institutions, and ideology as interchangeable elements depending on the needs of the society. This causes a misinterpretation of the Asian alternative due to the tendency of Westerners to classify a social system based on its institutional arrangements.
Civil Society In Asia and America Francis Fukuyama reiterates that in Asian religions there is no concept of individual rights. Confucianism states that people are born not with rights but with duties to the hierarchically arranged authorities, beginning with the family, then the state, and finally the emperor. It emphasizes adherence to good moral values, ethnic consciousness, strong state and political authority, education and self-cultivation. These beliefs do not as such present barriers to the development of democracy, but rather enhances the functioning of society. Liberal democracy allows for pure individualism, yet permitting some to cooperate in a somewhat interdependent, specialized society that makes everyone richer. Former prime minister Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore, believes that the emphasis on broad moral education is a guarantee that basic social structures do work in Asian

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