(Note: I kind of wonder what will happen when people figure out that the difference between Fukuyama/Asian monopoly statism and western polycentrism, is TRUTH TELLING. Chinese lie and deceive as a matter of course, whereas in the heroic model, we pay the high cost of truth telling as demonstrated contribution to the commons. – Curt Doolittle)
[F]rancis Fukuyama got hooked on the idea of meritocratic bureaucracy from his study of Chinese history, and in his two most recent books, works to explain the construction of the modern state, by justifying select bureaucracies. His attempt at justifying his priors is approaching the most exasperating work I have read by someone who appears to be honest and merely flawed.
I value his work, because his comparative analysis, like that of Aristotle, Machiavelli, Pareto, Weber, and more recently Olson, is at least marginally scientific.
However, when discussing Europe, he identifies then glosses over the most important attributes of european civilization: we developed contract rather than authority. And our ‘priesthood’ (lawyers) and contract (voluntary association) are sufficient for the production of all commons other than defense. He does not address the church-state-commerce balance of powers. Nor the incentives of a bureaucracy.
Where most of us want to re-nationalize liberalism, and return to the contractual association of man, using law and militia as a means of policing the state, he wants to turn us all into Chinese peasants.
He doesn’t describe why bureaucracies fail, and seems unaware of the criticism of bureaucracies. He assumes professional bureaucrats will have good interests and be accountable, rather than that such creatures only exist at the margins, and the benefit that they add is less than the damage that they cause AFTER rule of law has been implemented.
He also ignores Putnam’s illustration of the ills of diversity – and it appears that he does so intentionally.
So, I have work to do:
1) demonstrate how the contractual state is superior in every possible way
2) elaborate on the transaction cost theory of government.
3) expand the ills of corporatism to that of anti-tribalism
I cannot work as fast as these other people. I look at some of these guys who put a book out every year or two, and I just work so much more slowly.