INTELLECTUALS ON COMMUNITY
Best-selling author Francis Fukuyama is bold in proclaiming that history has had a goal that culminates in democratic capitalism. His book The End of History and the Last Man generated a lot of discussion in the intellectual community. He is correct in that the goal of history is democracy and capitalism. In his book Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity he is also correct in seeing that democracy and capitalism are not enough for a prosperous society. A nation must also have strong religious and ethical values which is what the Founding Fathers of America said and Fukuyama quotes. He is also correct in being on the conservative side and not for big government.
He writes like Adam Smith who praised capitalism in Wealth of Nations and then praised morality in Theory of Moral Sentiments. The two motifs in his book is that democracy and capitalism are the end result of politics and economics, but they can only work if people have good morals, habits and ethics. People want to have freedom to make money, but they also want what he calls "recognition": "The satisfaction we derive from being connected to others in the workplace grows out of a fundamental human desire for recognition. As I argued in The End of History and the Last Man, every human being seeks to have his or her dignity recognized by other human beings. Indeed, this drive is so deep and fundamental that it is one of the chief motors of the entire human historical process." He says in the past "kings and princes fought bloody battles with one another for primacy." Now the fight for recognition is in "economic activity" which "represents a crucial part of social life and is knit together by a wide variety of norms, rules, moral obligations, and other habits that together shape the society."
He is against big government and for high standards of morality and ethics: "Over the past generation, economic thought has been dominated by neoclassical or free market economists, associated with names like Milton Friedman, Gary Becker, and George Stigler. The rise of the neoclassical perspective constitutes a vast improvement from earlier decades in this century, when Marxists and Keynesians held sway. We can think of neoclassical economics as being, say, eighty percent correct: it has uncovered important truths about the nature of money and markets because its fundamental model of rational, self-interested human behavior is correct about eighty percent of the time. But there is a missing twenty percent of human behavior about which neoclassical economics can give only a poor account. As Adam Smith well understood, economic life is deeply embedded in social life, and it cannot be understood apart from the customs, morals, and habits of the society in which it occurs. In short, it cannot be divorced from culture."