By Jérôme E. Roos On October 23, 2011
The Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions. The Arab Spring. The looming Greek default. The increasingly likely breakup of the eurozone. The second coming of the global financial crisis. The return with a vengeance of the systemic critique of capitalism. The resounding worldwide call for real democracy. The dramatic rallies against austerity, inequality and neoliberalism in Spain, Greece, Chile and Israel. The riots in Athens, London and Rome. The occupation of Wall Street and the spreading of the movement throughout the US. The mass protests by millions of people in 1,000 cities and 80 countries on October 15. Even the death of Muammar Gaddafi.
All of it points in the direction of a simple but unmistakable truth: 2011 marks the End of the End of History. Beyond the flat horizon of liberal democracy and global capitalism, the events of this year have not only opened up a whole new chapter in the unfolding saga of mankind, but they have laid the very foundation for an endless procession of chapters beyond that. What is being shattered is not so much the democratic capitalist system as such, but rather the Utopian belief that this system is the only way to organize social life in the eternal pursuit of freedom, equality and happiness.
Almost twenty years ago, following the total collapse of the Soviet Union and the final discrediting of state communism, the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama conjectured that “we may be witnessing … not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.” Two decades after the publication of The End of History and the Last Man, Fukuyama’s thesis seems more shaky than ever before. Continue reading