State, law and democracy in a changing world

A few weeks before Christmas 2020, I was pondering the question when and how empires or nations collapse and whether countries can also bring themselves down. I thought this would be an interesting question for investors as well.

The question was prompted by the developments of recent years, which I have been observing with increasing amazement. Think of the election of Trump, games with import tariffs and import quotas, the vote for Brexit, and the increasing populism in Central America, Eastern Europe, and frankly also in the old heart of Europe, including the Netherlands. A few weeks later, I was treated to footage of the Storming of the Capitol. The question gained relevance.

‘The Origin of our Politics’

For the sake of fun, I dived into the field of history. This doesn’t tell you everything, but it does tell you something. As Mark Twain said: ‘History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.’

An exciting book with an answer to my question is Francis Fukuyama’s ‘The Origin of Our Politics’: two volumes with over 700 pages each. He describes the rise and fall of nations starting more than 8.000 years before our era. Especially the second volume published in 2014, ‘Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalisation of Democracy’, is a nice read.