Have we reached the end of history?

by Francis Fukuyama

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Recent developments in countries such as the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China seem to suggest that the 20th century may end where it started--not with an "end of ideology" or a convergence between capitalism and socialism, but with the victory of economic and political liberalism. This paper suggests that we may be witnessing not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period in postwar history, but the end of history--that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government. The victory of liberalism has occurred primarily in the realm of ideas or consciousness and is as yet incomplete in the real or material world, but the author suggests that there are reasons to believe that the ideal will govern the material world in the long run. To explain this, he considers some theoretical issues about the nature of historical change, including the philosophy of Hegel, who originated the idea of the end of history.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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