Francis Fukuyama, famed scholar of political and economic development, told a packed Elliott School auditorium, that developing countries need a comprehensive strategy and an involved public sector to be successful.
Cynthia Berning, the president of the Organization for International Development, introduced Fukuyama and described him as an integral part of every international affairs class. Author of the 1992 international bestseller “The End of History and the Last Man,” Fukuyama teaches at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and directs the school’s international development program.
“You need to approach development from all angles, including money and good politics . these are strategies for promoting good development,” Fukuyama told The Hatchet after the event.
Fukuyama also discussed the challenges a non-democratic state faces when transitioning into a nation grounded in democracy. In many instances, he said, countries encounter problems when their democratic systems do not fit their undemocratic political institutions.
“You have politicians who want to hire their cousins or who want a discretionary fund from the treasury,” he said.
Fukuyama discussed the situtation in Iraq where, he said, the institution of democracy does not mesh with Iraq’s society.
“The Iraq failure.is because of Iraq itself,” he said. “You could have the same external presence somewhere else that would have led to different outcomes.”
During a question and answer session, Fukuyama addressed development in the Arab world and said each country’s plan for development should be tailored to their individual needs.
“I don’t like the generic form for approaching strategic thinking because it isn’t country-specific,” he said
Many audience members said they were familiar with Fukuyama’s work and scholarly reputation. Brazilian exchange students Leonard Schmitz and Jonatas Pabis said they were enthusiastic about the opportunity to hear Fukuyama speak in person.
“I didn’t even know what he would be speaking about, but the fact that it’s (Fukuyama) made this event such a great opportunity tonight,” Schmitz said. “I was a little surprised at what he had to say . I thought he would be a little more conservative in his position, but he focused his theories on the outside instead of taking a dogmatic position, as he stated in response to some of the questions.”
Pabis said “Everybody in the academic world knows him, and whether you agree or disagree with him, everyone should come out to hear him speak.”