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World Undergoing Shifting Reality with Rise of Populism, Migration and Technology, Says Renowned Political Economist Fukuyama

13 February 2018


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Dubai-UAE: 12 February, 2018 - The old bipolar order of capitalism versus communism is dead "and is giving way to a world that is based on identity," said renowned political economist Dr Francis Fukuyama on day two of the sixth World Government Summit (WGS 2018) in Dubai.

The author of The End of History presented a lecture followed by a question-and-answer session with His Excellency Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the UAE. In response to a question from Dr. Gargash, Dr. Fukuyama said that in the Middle East, political Islam “appeals to the identity problems that are created by modernization”.

 

In a session entitled ‘Overwriting History: The Future of Global Governance and Net States’, he said the former liberal international order is being replaced by a multipolar world in which China could soon be the leading player. He pointed out that the rise in stature of several leading Chinese financial institutions into global entities underscores this premise.

In terms of the geopolitical balance of power, Dr. Fukuyama said the United States would see the end of the period of hegemony that lasted roughly 20 years from the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 to the financial crisis of 2008-09. He worried that the change to a multipolar system, with China as a potential leader, could be destabilizing. He pointed out that if North Korea were to collapse, then China from the north and South Korea and the US from the south could find themselves replaying the Korean War of the 1950s.

On the economic front, he added: “The financial markets are definitely underestimating the risks in the Korean Peninsula.”

He further noted that the idea of a system of governance that goes beyond multilateralism and reaches a global level is unlikely to become a reality - “not in my lifetime…for the next generation at least it’s going to be a challenge,” said the 65-year-old. He explained the reason for his skepticism and said: “The big problem in global governance is that the underlying social reality has been moving ahead at a very rapid pace and institutions have been struggling to keep up.”

This shifting reality includes the rise of populism, migration and technology, he said.

Further, the rise of populism “is the Achilles heel of many democracies” in the West, Dr. Fukuyama said, because many people do not feel valued by the political system. “Sometimes,” he said, “living in a democracy isn’t enough.”

Regarding the international rise of identity politics, Dr. Fukuyama noted that in his 1992 book The End of History and The Last Man, he asserted that humans are driven by a desire for their innate dignity to be recognized - “and we get very angry and resentful when people don’t recognize that dignity.”

Dr Francis Fukuyama is a professor of political science at Stanford University. He is the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the university’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), and the Mosbacher Director of FSI's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law.  In 2012 he launched The Governance Project to measure the effectiveness of bureaucracies in delivering services to citizens across a range of political systems.

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the World Government Summit 2018 runs from February 11 to 13 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. The landmark event convenes more than 4,000 participants from 140 countries, including heads of state and governments, as well as top-tier representatives of 16 international organizations.

Hosting more than 130 speakers across 120 interactive sessions, WGS 2018 features six distinct forums that examine the challenges of vital sectors for the future with a view to finding the best resolutions for the greater global good. Furthermore, over 20 specialized global reports spanning key sectors and topics of the summit are being launched during the event.