Francis Fukuyama At The American Interest-‘The Two Europes’

Full post here.

Fukuyama writes:

‘There has been plenty of talk about two Europes, which evolved from being a story about the peripheral PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain) to being one about the EU’s north and south, because it was clear that Italy and potentially France also faced large debt and bank problems. This is often portrayed as a contrast between a hard-working, Protestant, disciplined northern Europe (Germany, Holland, and Scandinavia) against a lazy, profligate Catholic-Orthodox south. But the real division is not a cultural one; it is between a clientelistic and non-clientelistic Europe.

Clientelism occurs when political parties use public resources, and particularly government offices, as a means of rewarding political supporters. Politicians provide not programmatic public policies, but individual benefits like a job in the post office, an intervention on behalf of a relative in trouble with the government, or sometimes an outright payment of money or goods.

In my view, clientelism should be distinguished from corruption proper because of the relationship of reciprocity that exists between politicians and voters’

On this view, there are progressive stages to achieving modern democracy and Greece is just stuck in one of the lower, less advanced stages, where clientelism (not always open corruption) is but a symptom:

‘Clientelism is not the product of a cultural proclivity or a failure of politicians to understand how a modern democratic political system is supposed to operate. Rather, it is often the most efficient way to mobilize relatively poor and uneducated voters and get them into the polling place.’

For Fukuyama, The PIGS and Italy simply haven’t gotten where they’re going yet:  to the ideal of the modern democratic state.  They hang suspended in various stages of progress: their old traditional Catholic and Orthodox cultural mores and traditions, family structures and loyalties welded to economic policies and political models of post-Enlightenment progress in various stages of completion/decay.

In fact:

‘Germany, Scandinavia, Britain, and the Netherlands have never been dominated by clientelistic parties, while Italy, Greece, Spain, and Austria have been. As Martin Shefter pointed out in his 1993 book Political Parties and the State, the reason for this difference had to do with the relative timing of the consolidation of a modern Weberian bureaucratic state and the onset of democracy.’

So, in order to get where they ought to go, the PIGS need to focus on a next stage which would presumably require a more moral political and bureaucratic class of people to develop and thus better administer public policy, overcoming the clientelism and corruption.  Incidentally, this may not involve the Eurozone, which as Fukuyama notes may have always been a bit of fantasy.

In fact, he extends his thinking to the U.S., too:

“In the United States, clientelism was overcome eventually as a result of economic modernization. Industrialization of the country in the late 19th century produced new social groups like businessmen, professionals, and urban reformers who united in a Progressive Movement to push for civil service reform and merit-based bureaucracy.”

Eventually, businessmen and reformers will rise from the dislocations of the industrial revolution and begin to focus on Statecraft and administration, securing the blessings of liberty and true riches of the Enlightenment.  Apparently we too in the U.S. can aspire to have the next stage of modern democracy and progress.

***This blog remains skeptical of progressive visions for democracy and government and generally skeptical of Fukuyama’s current project of public administration at Stanford.  Corruption and clientelism are problems to be battled and overcome, but on Fukuyama’s thinking this is to be done within a conception of the modern State which is positively Hegelian, and not may be fiscally nor morally sustainable especially in a country as large and diverse as the U.S.    In the long run it’s not clear that a perpetually perfectible public sector necessarily leads to less corruption or clientelism either.

Addition:  Fukuyama hasn’t really convinced me that the 2 Europes arguments shouldn’t carry more weight in explaining the differences between the corruption of Berlusconi and Italian politics, and say, Merkel’s current coalition.  His analysis seems useful and profound, but the case he makes involves a much more Statist, progressive vision for where Europe (and by extension, the U.S.) really ought to be heading.

Related On This Site:  Just as Huntington was going against the grain of modernization theory…:Newsweek On Francis Fukuyama: ‘The Beginning Of History’.…it’d be interesting to imagine a conversation between Eric Hoffer and Fukuyama, now that Fukuyama is near San Francisco: Francis Fukuyama At The American Interest: ‘Mexico And The Drug Wars’…Has Fukuyama turned away from Hegel and toward Darwin? Adam Kirsch Reviews Francis Fukuyama’s New Book At The City Journal: ‘The Dawn Of Politics’……Peter Singer discusses Hegel and MarxFrom Philosophy And Polity: ‘Historicism In German Political Theory’

Have you downloaded the apps…and the concepts of Enlightenment and post Enlightenment liberty that can lead to runtime errors and fiscal failure? Sachs and Niall Ferguson duke it out: CNN-Fareed Zakaria Via Youtube: ‘Jeff Sachs and Niall Ferguson’

The West is less violent?  I’m not sure I’m convinced by Pinker, anyways: At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas HobbesFrom Reason.TV Via YouTube: ‘Steven Pinker on The Decline of Violence & “The Better Angels of Our Nature”‘

Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen have plans for America and India, and it involves much more state involvement here in America:  Amartya Sen In The New York Review Of Books: Capitalism Beyond The Crisis

Walter Russell Mead takes a look at the blue model (the old progressive model) from the ground up in NYC to argue that it’s simply not working.  This is quite a progressive vision but one that embraces change boldly.  Repost-Via Youtube: Conversations With History – Walter Russell Mead

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