Arnold Kling  

Fukuyama on Fukuyama

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I think his new book has important ideas. This interview gets at a couple of them.

how did these different societies make an exit out of kinship-based social organization into a modern-based state, with impersonal, centralized administration? Europe in that respect was quite exceptional, because that happened early, and it happened through the agency of the Catholic Church, which changed the rules of inheritance for kin-groups. It forbade divorce, it forbade concubinage, and it forbade cousin marriages within three or four degrees of relatedness. All of these were practices in tribal societies that kept property within an extended kin-group. In the Arab world in many places they still encourage cross-cousin marriage, where you marry your first cousin and the two families get to keep property within this narrow circle.

When the Catholic Church [forbade cousin marriage] in the eighth century, it wasn't thinking about the effect on kinship. It was acting in a self-interested way, because by cutting off these ways of kin-groups' keeping property, the Church ended up being the beneficiary.

The interview also gets into a point that I mentioned previously in posting about the book, which is that China developed a strong state without the rule of law.

I think that one could write an interesting article comparing and contrasting Origins of Political Order with Violence and Social Orders by North, Weingast, and Wallis. Some ideas overlap, but there are important differences, also.

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COMMENTS (3 to date)
Steve Sailer writes:

Here's my review of Fukuyama's book in The American Conservative:

Gian writes:

Well the caste Hindus did not have divorce and cousin
marriage either.

And the novels of Jane Austen and Bronte sisters are full of first cousin marriages so it was not fully stamped out in England where by Fukayama's theory the cousin marriage ought to be the weakest.

That the Church for self-interested monetary reasons forbade cousin marriage is absurd and could only be dreamt up by somebody who has no idea how the Chruch operates.

Cryptomys writes:

Wait till Jerry Lee Lewis hears of this!

That's interesting, because every U.S. state allows second-cousin marriages and most allow first-cousin marriages. I guess the difference is that while cousin marriages are generally legal in the United States, they are very rare in practice.

Baroness Deech of Cunmor has an interesting lecture at Gresham.

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