Meritocracy as a Political System: A Commentary on Bell&apos;s <i>The China Model</i>

Meritocracy as a Political System: A Commentary on Bell's The China Model Meritocracy as a Political System: A Commentary on Bell’s The China Model Binfan Wang Department of Political Science, University of Toronto binfan.wang@mail.utoronto.ca It is my great pleasure to discuss Bell’s latest book on political meritocracy. The China Model has received responses in both political theory and China studies, but unfortunately many of them still misunderstand his work. There- fore, before I articulate my critical comment, it would be helpful to clarify my own understanding of this book. As Bell points out in the preface to the paperback edition and in many responses to his critics, his aim is neither to denigrate democracy in Western countries nor to defend the exact status quo of China. What he tries to do is to introduce political meritocracy as a legitimate political system for selecting leaders. Since China is typical of the kind of country in which political meritocracy is achievable, it is fair to name Bell’s approach “the China model.” Justifying political meritocracy does not aim at replacing democracy in Western countries, given Bell’s emphasis on the balance between democracy and meritocracy in any political system. However, Bell’s work does indeed strongly challenge the positioning of democracy as the only justifiable political http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy East and West University of Hawai'I Press

Meritocracy as a Political System: A Commentary on Bell&apos;s <i>The China Model</i>

Philosophy East and West, Volume 69 (2) – Aug 13, 2019

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1529-1898

Abstract

Meritocracy as a Political System: A Commentary on Bell’s The China Model Binfan Wang Department of Political Science, University of Toronto binfan.wang@mail.utoronto.ca It is my great pleasure to discuss Bell’s latest book on political meritocracy. The China Model has received responses in both political theory and China studies, but unfortunately many of them still misunderstand his work. There- fore, before I articulate my critical comment, it would be helpful to clarify my own understanding of this book. As Bell points out in the preface to the paperback edition and in many responses to his critics, his aim is neither to denigrate democracy in Western countries nor to defend the exact status quo of China. What he tries to do is to introduce political meritocracy as a legitimate political system for selecting leaders. Since China is typical of the kind of country in which political meritocracy is achievable, it is fair to name Bell’s approach “the China model.” Justifying political meritocracy does not aim at replacing democracy in Western countries, given Bell’s emphasis on the balance between democracy and meritocracy in any political system. However, Bell’s work does indeed strongly challenge the positioning of democracy as the only justifiable political

Journal

Philosophy East and WestUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Aug 13, 2019

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