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ZHANG ZHENJIANG: He expects US to resolve ‘political decay’

| 2015-04-07
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)

Fukuyama’s ideas haven’t changed much. He still believes that free markets and democracy represent the end point of humanity’s sociocultural evolution. However, the US, synonymous as it is with liberty and democracy, has fallen into “political decay,” which in turn could limit the effect of liberty and democracy, and this needs to be addressed.

Fukuyama appreciated the remarkable achievements the Chinese government has made in the past several decades, but this does not mean he identifies with the development pattern of China. He wrote that the Chinese government is doing very well in economic growth, poverty relief and social services. However, like the concern over the US, he worries about the stability and sustainable development of China. He pointed out that contemporary China still faces the “bad emperor” issue. The lack of a system to guarantee a good emperor or limit the power of a bad emperor poses the biggest threat to social and political stability. Fukuyama believes the answer to the issue is rule of law and democracy.

Nonetheless, for many Western scholars, including Fukuyama, the rise of China is not only a challenge to the theories of liberty and democracy but also a challenge to the prophecy of the “end of history,” which has yet to materialize decades after the prediction was made.

Though Fukuyama has maintained his position, he is not as confident as he was 25 years ago. It seems that he has begun to show concern over the competition between the US and newly emerging nations like China. But unlike other scholars who have spearheaded the attack on China as a potential competitor to America, Fukuyama instead reflects upon America itself. He discovered “political decay” in the US. In his opinion, as long as the crisis of “political decay” can be solved, the vision of the “end of history” will come true one day.


Zhang Zhenjiang is a professor from the School of International Studies at Jinan University in Guangdong Province.