In a reversal stunning absolutely no one, neoliberal ideologue Francis Fukuyama has abandoned that thoroughly sunken ship known as the “end of history” thesis, presumably after shutting off the lights and donning a snorkel. The series of half-hearted defenses of his almost 30-year-wrong position, which were really just half-hearted disavowals, were issued in a recent interview for the New Statesman.
We have noted here and elsewhere the increasingly centrifugal character of the present epoch—that the decline of western hegemony is not being met by the concomitant rise of powers capable of filling the void. The result will be a multipolar world, and multipolarity entails the inevitability of wars of redivision. Even a bourgeois blockhead like Fukuyama can see that. For him, as for many, it is growing territorial and trade tensions between China and the u$ that are the likely spark—super original stuff here, guys.
He waxed social about how neoliberalism has been “disastrous” (the addendum ‘for whom?’ is needed here, certainly not westerners), and the rise of the identitarian right and what has been dubbed the “Illiberal International” of Italy, Hungary, Poland etc., but more broadly China, Russia, India, Brazil and so on. The turn toward technocratic illiberal democracy in the west, and the illiberal character of maldeveloped countries are here lumped together as though China, or anyone else for that matter, is somehow responsible for western chauvinism and parochial nationalism. The inability to differentiate between the two trends is also symptomatic of the poverty of bourgeois thought at present.
Lip-service was also paid to Marx and how “things Karl Marx said are turning out to be true,” like crises of over-production and under-consumption. He gets points for trying, but we still hope he trips in a busy intersection and doesn’t get up in time.
That one of the pied pipers of the neoliberal world order has changed his tune is more worrying than reassuring. It lays bare the directionlessness of the ruling classes and their ideological servitors. Freefall.
For the time being the liberal democrats of the west have taken up the fallen banner of the neocons, but the reaction of the “progressive” imperialists against the parochial “illiberal international” will not reverse the trend—in fact, it is exacerbating it. As Poland, Hungary and Italy defy the eu again and again, the overwhelming consensus seems to be that something has to give. The current fight over the Italian budget has the capacity to collapse the eurozone, Juncker assures, and an ‘Italexit’ would certainly collapse the eu as a whole. The neoliberals are on the retreat, but imperialism is not.
As the slow trainwreck of multipolarity unfolds, the western bourgeoisie and their ideologues are being thrown against the walls of history by the centrifugal force of crisis. If they cannot get their feet under them—and we hope they never do—the outcome will be nothing short of the collapse of the current world order. Annexations, wars of redivision, and more than a few revolutions will certainly come out of it.
The ruling classes of the various world powers are not prepared to rule the world. Britain is a whipped dog, the u$ is in a crisis of imperial identity, europe is on the brink of collapse, the rightwing experiment in Russia is concerned largely with surviving the fiscal year, and the clock is ticking for China to either crest the rise of a consumer society or sink back into a permanent export-oriented development state. Charlemagne is dead, and the scramble for the kingdoms will soon begin.
It is laughable, then, for Fukuyama to insult the boldness of the “End of History” thesis by, in the hour of its wake, proposing social democracy as the anodyne. Indeed, the big rentier bourgeois like Branson, Musk, Zuckerberg etc., propose a universal income to solve the west’s problems. The most advanced sections of the imperialist bourgeoisie can only offer renewed terms for the parasitic contract, so diseased is their imagination. It would be funny if it weren’t so terrifying.
Socialism or barbarism, etc.