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East Meets West: Human Rights and Democracy in East Asia / Edition 1
     

East Meets West: Human Rights and Democracy in East Asia / Edition 1

by Daniel A. Bell
 

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ISBN-10: 0691005087

ISBN-13: 2900691005088

Pub. Date: 05/08/2000

Publisher: Princeton University Press

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

Overview

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 fictious 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900691005088
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
05/08/2000
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
344

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsxi
Introduction3
Part IThe East Asian Challenge to Human Rights and Democracy. Reflections on East-West Dialogues21
Chapter 1Toward a Truly International Human Rights Regime23
1.Trade-offs35
1.1.Rights vs. Development: A Zero-Sum Game?35
1.2.The Need for Specificity37
2.An Asian Voice on Human Rights?49
2.1.Human Rights: A Western Invention?49
2.2.Increasing commitment to Human Rights in East Asia: Strategic Considerations55
2.2.1.On the Prospects of Exporting American Ideals to East Asia56
2.2.2.Appealing to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Asia63
2.2.3.Local justifications for Human Rights68
3.A Different Moral Standpoint?82
3.1.Cultural Respect vs. Liberal Neutrality84
3.2.Justifiable Constraints on Western-Style Rights87
3.3.New "Asian" Rights: Expanding the Set of Internationally Recognized Rights95
Summary103
Chapter 2Democratic Rights: On the Importance of Local Knowledge106
1.Trade-off Issues110
1.1.On the Possibility of Decent Nondemocratic Regimes110
1.2.The Costs of Democratization116
2.Democratic Rights: Different justifications130
2.1.Limiting the Power of the State130
2.2.Democracy as a Means for Nation-Building137
2.3.Identifying the Agents of Democratization142
2.4.Nation-Building and Social Consensus in Confucian Democracies149
3.Democratic Rights: Different Constraints158
3.1Democracy vs. Civil Rights158
3.2Democracy vs. Social and Economic Rights16
3.3Democracy vs. Future Generations16
Summary170
Part IIThe Pros and Cons of Democracy in Singapore: A Fictitious Dialogue with Lee Kuan Yew173
Chapter 3Is Liberal Democracy Suitable for Singapore?175
1.Democracy Defined as Free and Fair Competitive Elections176
2.Democracy justified (Only) by Its Consequences185
3.Democracy and Security201
4.Democracy and Civil Liberties213
5.Democracy and Prosperity219
Summary232
Chapter 4A Communitarian Critique of Authoritarianism: The Case of Singapore233
1.Community and Democracy233
2.Democracy and the Family236
3.Democracy and the Nation239
3.1.Singapore: A Patriotic Nation?239
3.2.How Authoritarianism Undermines Patriotism241
3.3.On the Need for Patriotism in Singapore253
Summary271
Part IIIDemocracy With Chinese Characteristics277
Chapter 5A Political Proposal for the Post-Communist Era279
1.Constraining Democratic Populism281
1.1.On the Need for Capable and Far-Sighted Rulers in Modern Societies281
1.2.A Confucian Tradition of Respect for a Ruling Intellectual Elite286
2.Alternative Proposals289
2.1.Plural Voting Schemes292
2.2.A Corporatist Assembly294
2.3.A Parliament of Scholar-Officials299
3.The Proposal307
3.1.Selection Procedures307
3.2.The Problem of Cormption318
3.3.The Question of Universalizability323
3.4.The Problem of Gridlock328
3.5.Implementation of the Proposal332
Closing Scene335
Select Bibliography337
Index353

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