Then, of course, there was the famous claim that the collapse of communism marked the end of history. To my mind, recent times have felt rather more like the beginning of history, but Francis Fukuyama’s career has not suffered for predicting otherwise.
Indeed, Stephens' own diagnosis of China's current conundrum is pure Fukuyama. Policymakers in Beijing, he writes,
are also aware that the autocracy and corruption on which the present system rests will not withstand the pressures of economic and social change.
Only the other day Mr Hu called for a “vigorous improvement” in democratic decision-making to help fight corruption within the ruling Communist party.