January 9, 2002

Argentina and The End of History

Argentina and The End of History - Francis Fukuyama famously observed at the end of the Cold War that - at the highest levels of ideology - there was nothing to argue over anymore: capitalism and democracy were obviously better than any alternatives. From now on, history would get ever duller because everybody knew that capitalist democracy was the solution.

Of course, history hasn't exactly ended yet. What's becoming clear is that there was a fatal flaw in Fukuyama's model. He forgot to ask: "What if large parts of the world are simply not competent enough to make capitalist democracy work?" Consider Argentina, a nation blessed by nature at least abundantly as Canada. A nation so trendy in social values that plastic surgery is more common in Buenos Aires than in Los Angeles. A nation where, after decades of bad choices, the political elite had for the last decade been the world's truest believers in neoliberal economics. Yet, Argentina has once again has collapsed into economic and political chaos. 1-9-2002