Francis Fukuyama’s Two Mechanisms

What I would like students in GEOG 170 to critically reflect upon is why F Fukuyama requires two mechanisms to motivate his end of history. The necessity of two mechanisms, I would suggest, points to a disconnect between the social psychological (thymos, desire) and the rational (scientia, technology) in which Fukuyama/Kojeve announce their (unannounced) departure from Hegel. For Hegel, we need to recall, the economic/technical integration reaches a point where, on its own, it can proceed no further. Its own particularity and individuality prohibits it from grasping the universal under which its parts are integrated. And, yet, clearly, the integration, the universal, is the condition for its own possibility. Without this totality, the individual is impossible. And, so, Hegel calls our attention to the education of the civil servant to serve the interests of the universal. In this way, the economic/bourgeois, private interest is brought into relationship, and not into opposition, to the universal. Here, Fukuyama pulls up short. For him, the bourgeois moment is the goal. Fukuyama’s universal is not the universal that, through instruction, university training, grasps the whole. Rather, for him, the universal is the particular, connected to particular, connected to particular, ad infinitum. It is, therefore, conflict all the way down. For this very reason, Fukuyama must posit two mechanisms. The first, the mechanism of science, is the historical envelop in which events are borne forward. (And now we can fully appreciate Postone’s Marx.) The second, the mechanism of desire, is the suprahistorical value form of the commodity (although, of course, this is not Fukuyama’s language). What is remarkable here, to me, is that Fukuyama repeats both Hegel’s and Marx’s analysis, although in misrecognized form. He genuinely does not know what he is saying. He does not recognize that to which his own categories refer. And, so, he does not understand the logic that brings his first mechanism and his second into relationship to one another.