Just as the Industrial Revolution brought about momentous changes in society's moral values, there has been a similar Great Disruption during the last half of the twentieth century. In the last 50 years the developed world has made the shift from industrial to information society; knowledge has replaced mass production as the basis for wealth, ...
Just as the Industrial Revolution brought about momentous changes in society's moral values, there has been a similar Great Disruption during the last half of the twentieth century. In the last 50 years the developed world has made the shift from industrial to information society; knowledge has replaced mass production as the basis for wealth, power and social intercourse. This change, for all its benefits, has led to increasing crime, massive changes is fertility and family structure, decreasing levels of trust and the triumph of individualism over community. But Fukuyama claims that a new social order is already under construction. This he maintains, cannot be imposed by governments or organised religion. Instead he argues that human beings are biologically driven to establish moral values, and have unique capabilities for reasoning their over the long run to spontaneous order.
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Publishers Weekly, 1999-05-24 Fukuyama attempts to reconcile the extent of social disruption experienced in many Western countries during the past 30 years with his neo-Hegelian belief that the triumph of Western liberal democracy represents an end of history (articulated in The End of History and the Last Man). He successfully contends that the "Great Disruption" Western nations are experiencing as society moves from an industrial to an information economy is much like the social upheaval that accompanied the industrial revolution. After defining the Great Disruption (the usual litany of increased crime, family breakdown and lack of confidence in public institutions), Fukuyama turns to an exploration of the nature of human beings and morality. In doing so, he makes much of the idea of "social capital," which he defines as "a set of informal values or norms shared among members of a group that permits cooperation among them." Social capital is lacking in periods of disruption and is present when periods of disruption come to an end. Simply put, it's what makes civil society possible. He concludes that Western societies are now reconstructing their social orders?much as they have over the course of history?through revitalized morality, renewed civic pride and strengthened family life. As in previous books, Fukuyama's conclusions are less interesting than the way he arrives at them through a willingness to ask the big questions and an ability to look at contemporary society through the lens of his own vast reading and scholarship. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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