Re: Book recommendation (maybe)

Brian Atkins (
Sat, 24 Jul 1999 00:49:48 -0400

David Lubkin wrote:
> I heard an hour-long radio interview this morning with Francis Fukayama, whose latest
> book, _The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order_,
> sounds up our alley -- in the introduction, he credits Neal Stephenson, and on the air
> he talked about Hayek, spontaneous order, and evolutionary psychology.
> It's essentially a theoretical and practical framework for predicting social change, which
> sums down to "Human nature will win out." I haven't read the book yet, though, so the
> recommendation is tentative. He's a good enough speaker and he said enough of the
> right buzzwords for me to want to pick up a copy and check it out.

Hmm well based on the Amazon review below this guy sounds more like those people who were predicting fashion trends in the year 3000 :-) He seems to think that we are on the tail end of the big changes, rather than at the beginning.


                     Francis Fukuyama cements his reputation as a wide-ranging
public intellectual with this big-think
                     book on social order and human nature. Following his
earlier successes (The End of History and
                     the Last Man and Trust), Fukuyama argues that civilization
is in the midst of a revolution on a par
                     with hunter-gatherers learning how to farm or agricultural
societies turning industrial. He finds much
                     to celebrate in this cultural, economic, and technological
transformation, but "with all the blessings
                     that flow from a more complex, information-based economy,
certain bad things also happened to
                     our social and moral life." Individualism, for example,
fuels innovation and prosperity, but has also
                     "corroded virtually all forms of authority and weakened the
bonds holding families, neighborhoods,
                     and nations together." Yet this is not a pessimistic book:
"Social order, once disrupted, tends to get
                     remade again" because humans are built for life in a civil
society governed by moral rules.
                     We're on the tail end of the "great disruption," says
Fukuyama, and signs suggest a coming era of
                     much-needed social reordering. He handles complex ideas
from diverse fields with ease (this is
                     certainly the first book whose acknowledgments thank both
science fiction novelist Neal Stephenson
                     and social critic James Q. Wilson), and he writes with
laser-sharp clarity. Fans of Jared Diamond's
                     Guns, Germs, and Steel and David Landes's The Wealth and
Poverty of Nations will appreciate
                     The Great Disruption, as will just about any reader curious
about what the new millennium may
                     bring. This is simply one of the best nonfiction books of
1999. --John J. Miller
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