East Meets West Human Rights and Democracy in East Asia

ISBN-10: 0691005087
ISBN-13: 9780691005089
Edition: 2000
Authors: Daniel A. Bell
List price: $52.50 Buy it from $6.20
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Description: Is liberal democracy a universal ideal? Proponents of "Asian values" argue that it is a distinctive product of the Western experience and that Western powers shouldn't try to push human rights and democracy onto Asian states. Liberal democrats in  More...

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Book details

List price: $52.50
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 5/28/2000
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 384
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.188
Language: English

Is liberal democracy a universal ideal? Proponents of "Asian values" argue that it is a distinctive product of the Western experience and that Western powers shouldn't try to push human rights and democracy onto Asian states. Liberal democrats in the West typically counter by questioning the motives of Asian critics, arguing that Asian leaders are merely trying to rationalize human-rights violations and authoritarian rule. In this book--written as a dialogue between an American democrat named Demo and three East Asian critics--Daniel A. Bell attempts to chart a middle ground between the extremes of the international debate on human rights and democracy. Bell criticizes the use of "Asian values" to justify oppression, but also draws on East Asian cultural traditions and contributions by contemporary intellectuals in East Asia to identify some powerful challenges to Western-style liberal democracy. In the first part of the book, Bell makes use of colorful stories and examples to show that there is a need to take into account East Asian perspectives on human rights and democracy. The second part--a fictitious dialogue between Demo and Asian senior statesman Lee Kuan Yew--examines the pros and cons of implementing Western-style democracy in Singapore. The third part of the book is an argument for an as-yet-unrealized Confucian political institution that justifiably differs from Western-style liberal democracy. This is a thought-provoking defense of distinctively East Asian challenges to Western-style liberal democracy that will stimulate interest and debate among students of political theory, Asian studies, and international human rights.

Daniel Bell, an American sociologist and journalist, studied at City College of New York and Columbia University. As a journalist he was an editor of Fortune magazine and later served on several presidential committees. His work as chairman of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Commission on the Year 2000 led to the publication of a collection of futuristic essays and discussions by some of the finest minds of the century. His teaching career included posts at Chicago, Columbia, and Harvard universities. In Bell's best-known book, The Coming of Post-Industrial Society (1976), he analyzed the emerging role of information technology in the West. He was among the first scholars to realize that the production of information and knowledge would eclipse manufacturing in the developed world. Bell will be most remembered for his groundbreaking work in social change. He contended that new theories and models of decision making had to be devised to address the issues presented by an information-based society.

Acknowledgments
Introduction
The East Asian Challenge to Human Rights and Democracy. Reflections on East-West Dialogues
Toward a Truly International Human Rights Regime
Trade-offs
Rights vs. Development: A Zero-Sum Game?
The Need for Specificity
An Asian Voice on Human Rights?
Human Rights: A Western Invention?
Increasing commitment to Human Rights in East Asia: Strategic Considerations
On the Prospects of Exporting American Ideals to East Asia
Appealing to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Asia
Local justifications for Human Rights
A Different Moral Standpoint?
Cultural Respect vs. Liberal Neutrality
Justifiable Constraints on Western-Style Rights
New "Asian" Rights: Expanding the Set of Internationally Recognized Rights
Summary
Democratic Rights: On the Importance of Local Knowledge
Trade-off Issues
On the Possibility of Decent Nondemocratic Regimes
The Costs of Democratization
Democratic Rights: Different justifications
Limiting the Power of the State
Democracy as a Means for Nation-Building
Identifying the Agents of Democratization
Nation-Building and Social Consensus in Confucian Democracies
Democratic Rights: Different Constraints
Democracy vs. Civil Rights
Democracy vs. Social and Economic Rights
Democracy vs. Future Generations
Summary
The Pros and Cons of Democracy in Singapore: A Fictitious Dialogue with Lee Kuan Yew
Is Liberal Democracy Suitable for Singapore?
Democracy Defined as Free and Fair Competitive Elections
Democracy justified (Only) by Its Consequences
Democracy and Security
Democracy and Civil Liberties
Democracy and Prosperity
Summary
A Communitarian Critique of Authoritarianism: The Case of Singapore
Community and Democracy
Democracy and the Family
Democracy and the Nation
Singapore: A Patriotic Nation?
How Authoritarianism Undermines Patriotism
On the Need for Patriotism in Singapore
Summary
Democracy With Chinese Characteristics
A Political Proposal for the Post-Communist Era
Constraining Democratic Populism
On the Need for Capable and Far-Sighted Rulers in Modern Societies
A Confucian Tradition of Respect for a Ruling Intellectual Elite
Alternative Proposals
Plural Voting Schemes
A Corporatist Assembly
A Parliament of Scholar-Officials
The Proposal
Selection Procedures
The Problem of Cormption
The Question of Universalizability
The Problem of Gridlock
Implementation of the Proposal
Closing Scene
Select Bibliography
Index

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