The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order

The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order

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By (author) Francis Fukuyama

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  • Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 368 pages
  • Dimensions: 129mm x 199mm x 21mm | 385g
  • Publication date: 20 April 2000
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1861972172
  • ISBN 13: 9781861972170
  • Sales rank: 525,776

Product description

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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Author information

Francis Fukuyama is the author of The End of History, Trust, The Great Disruption, Our Posthuman Future and State Building. All have been international bestsellers, translated and published in many languages. They have also been hugely influential. Fukuyama is in constant demand around the world in the media and as a speaker. He is Professor of International Political Economy at John Hopkins University.

Editorial reviews

Technological and economic progress meet social decay in this ambitious book that promises more than it delivers. Part of what makes reading Fukuyama (Public Policy/George Mason Univ.) fun and interesting is his willingness to take on big questions, as he did in The End of History and the Last Man (1992). Here he tackles what he finds to be the epochal transformation of developed societies into a "postindustrial era" where information and knowledge form the basis of economic life. He finds this transformation to be as monumental as the Industrial Revolution, and as disruptive. The dawn of the postindustrial era, roughly since the 1960s, has been accompanied by dramatic increases in crime, family breakups, and public distrust. Why has this occurred, what is the connection between technological change and social upheaval? Fukuyama maintains that technological changes have allowed certain things to occur that would not have otherwise. A post-industrial economy, which needs brains not brawn, has allowed unprecedented numbers of women to enter the workforce. While not necessarily bad in itself, this trend has contributed to the breakdown of families. When this happens, naturally aggressive young men do not have the checks on their actions that a strong family presents, hence the increase in crime. The advent of "the pill" and abortion have allowed men to be sexually more promiscuous and abdicate their communal responsibilities, such as "control[ling] access to women" on the part of younger men. Fukuyama deals with much more, yet what he says returns again and again to family. In the end he is optimistic that families, and hence society, will right themselves, for we are social animals and it is in our nature to reconstitute society into viable and functional forms. He may be correct, but the book ends up being a disingenuous defense of specific values rather than any dispassionate analysis of the interactions of technological and social change. A disappointing effort that, for all its detail, says very little. (Kirkus Reviews)