The birth, adolescence, and maturation of politics

Apr 21, 2011

E. O. Wilson’s classic book Sociobiology contends that human society is, in some way, driven by the same forces of evolutionary biology and natural selection that affect living organisms. Taking this tenet as a jumping off point, Frances Fukuyama tackles the history of politics in The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution. In modern times, government institutions can easily be taken for granted. However, when civilizations were in their nascent stages, the notion of political order and accountability could not have been more infeasible. In the first of a two book series, Fukuyama provides a broad historical overview of how politics have evolved; the story covers the era of barbaric, prehuman tribes to the refined intellectualism of the Enlightenment, and spans from China to the Middle East to Europe. How exactly did humanity come around to the issue of politics? What specific gains have been made over time, and how? What trends for development, or devolution, can we expect in the future?

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