“On the Selection of Good Leaders in a Political Meritocracy” by Daniel Bell (24 Oct)

In this talk, I will assume that (1) it is good for a political community to be governed by high-quality rulers; (2) China’s one party political system is not about to collapse; (3) the meritocratic aspect of the system is partly good; and (4) it can be improved. On the basis of these assumptions, I will put forward suggestions about which qualities matter most for political leaders in the context of large, peaceful, and modernizing (non-democratic) meritocratic states, followed by suggestions about mechanisms that increase the likelihood of selecting leaders with such qualities. I will use the philosophical theory about the best possible political meritocracy in the context of a large, peaceful, and modernizing state as a standard for evaluating China’s actually-existing meritocratic system. I will argue that China can and should improve its meritocratic system: it needs exams that more effectively test for politically relevant intellectual abilities, more women in leadership positions to increase the likelihood that leaders have the social skills required of effective policy-making, and more systematic use of a peer review system to promote political officials motivated by the desire to serve the public.

Philosophy Seminar Series.
Date: Thursday, 24 Oct 2013
Time: 2pm – 4pm
Venue: Philosophy Resource Room (AS3 #05-23)
Speaker: Daniel A. Bell, Center for International and Comparative Political Theory, Tsinghua University
Moderator: Dr. Ben Blumson

About the Speaker:

Daniel A. Bell is Visiting Professor, Depts of Philosophy and Political Science, NUS. He is Professor of Ethics and Political Theory, and Director of the Center for International and Comparative Political Theory, Tsinghua University (Beijing). He taught at NUS from 1991-94. He has authored and edited 15 books, of which the latest (coedited with Li Chenyang) is The East Asian Challenge for Democracy: Political Meritocracy in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2013). He is currently writing a book on political meritocracy. He is a regular contributor to leading media outlets in China and the West and his works have been translated into 23 languages.

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