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The China Model


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix Introduction 1 Chapter 1 Is Democracy the Least Bad Political System? 14 Chapter 2 On the Selection of Good Leaders in a Political Meritocracy 63 Chapter 3 What's Wrong with Political Meritocracy 110 Chapter 4 Three Models of Democratic Meritocracy 151 Concluding Thoughts: Realizing the China Model 179 Notes 199 Selected Bibliography 283 Index 307

About the Author

Daniel A. Bell is dean of the School of Political Science and Public Administration at Shandong University in Qingdao.


A Financial Times Summer Books Selection Selected as one of Financial Times (FT.com) Best Books of 2015 A Guardian Best Holiday Reads of 2015 selection "[I]t is part of the job of academics to ask fundamental questions that challenge conventional thinking. Bell performs this role admirably in lucid, jargon-free prose that leads the reader back to some of the most fundamental questions in political philosophy - refracted through the experience of contemporary China ... I found the questions that Bell raised consistently stimulating."--Gideon Rachman, Financial Times "Bell ... has written a fascinating study. Open-minded readers will find it equips them with a more intelligent understanding of Chinese politics and, no less valuable, forces them to examine their devotion to democracy... [The China Model] isn't just for those who want to better understand China. More than anything I've read for a while, it also forced me to think about what's good and bad about Western systems of government. From start to finish the book is a pleasure and an education."--Clive Crook, Bloomberg View "Bell makes a solid and worthy case for why the outside world might want to think about the Chinese experiment in governance a bit more deeply... This is a very clearly written book."--Kerry Brown, Asian Review of Books "The China Model ... is as important for us as it is for China. If the book brings us some humility about the ways in which an undemocratic model like China's can be deeply rooted in history and culture, it will have done good work. But it will do something better if it can remind us that our own history isn't over."--Rob Goodman, POLITICO "In careful, clear and measured prose, [Bell] works hard to overcome prejudice, defuse emotions and discuss the pros and cons in the cool language of political philosophy. This, perhaps, is the book's greatest contribution."--James Miller, Literary Review of Canada "Serious re-evaluations of democracy are inhibited by two factors: fears about the alternatives turning sour and a century of educational indoctrination that makes imagining the alternatives a frightful exercise. Bell's book should be read as an antidote (or if you prefer, an elixir) to overcome these doubts."--Siddharth Singh, Mint "This book is a welcome addition to the expanding literature on the emerging 'China model'... Bell's argument, based on his long-term observation of China's political development, provides a nuanced, thought-provoking view of the meritocratic aspects of the Chinese system that have been obscured by the broad label 'authoritarianism.' It offers an original explanation for the resilience of the Chinese regime and essentially challenges the widely held notion that liberal democracy is the universally desirable political outcome for modern societies."--Choice "Bell is not an apologist for China but someone who teaches us to ask different questions. And these questions are fascinating."--Mariana Mazzucato, Financial Times, a FT Best Book of 2015 "A must-read scholarly account of China's political development with stimulating questions, powerful analysis as well as theoretically relevant arguments."--Bingdao Zheng, Chinese Political Science Review "[Bell] offers an earnest, well-balanced, and timely discussion of the limitations and suitability of Western liberal democracy to current Chinese realities... This is a very bold recommendation that aptly rounds off what is throughout a highly original volume steeped in political theory. It hopefully will instigate serious debate."--Niv Horesh, China Journal "Strikingly original."--Benjamin Herscovitch, Policy: A Journal of Public Policy and Ideas "Important, original and deeply researched... Honest, thoroughly researched, imaginative, and hugely important volume on Chinese political development and its possible impact on the global arena."--Bogdan Goralczyk, China Review "A must-read text for all political scientists, in particular, for those who study democracy and democratization."--Baogang He, Perspectives on Politics "A serious intellectual work that deserves to be read by scholars who are interested in the merits and limitations of liberal democracy."--Lynette H. Ong, Perspectives on Politics

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