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Re: <nettime> Eric X. Li: Democracy Is Not the Answer.
carl guderian on Sat, 14 Jul 2012 17:38:47 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Eric X. Li: Democracy Is Not the Answer.

This is exactly the kind of sleazy, power-worshipping bullshit (h/t the
late Hunter S. Thompson) that plays well at the Aspen Institute, a
hangout of Li and other pet philosphers of global capitalism. I'm sure
he and David F. Brooks are best buddies and--big surprise--Li is also a
venture capitalist. Li's thesis sounds an awful lot like the one
advanced by Daniel A. Bel and Jiang Qing in their op-ed "A Confucian
constitution for China" (IHT Views, 12 July). The latter argued for a
"divine right of Central Committees." Both are close cousins to Putin's
"managed democracy," but with a little Oriental mysticism thrown in.
They sound good at first look, promising stability and the world's
respect. They're very capitalist-friendly, at least to the big insider
players and their intendants. To everyone else, they're just royal
courts with modern names. Confucius would be the first to say

Words like "meritocracy" get bandied about for the benefit of democratic
listeners, but rulers (and CEOs) have always kept places available even
for the most useless of family members, at the expense of the able but
unconnected. China has rarely been any different. And high justice of
the sort meted out to Bo Xilai and his wife, of course away from the
profane eyes of hoi polloi, isn't much of a corrective factor.

We don't have to use democracy to damn Li's ideas because they are
dishonest and have failed in practice. They fail precisely because they
promise a final answer, like a lot of other once-fashionable political
solutions. There are no final answers. 

Democracy can degenerate into worse forms of governments, and has a few
times. But it has the advantage of leaving the question open. It's
messy, like real life. I like that. it's also been the most reliable
record in defending human rights, though the bar's pretty low there.

Li flatters captains of industry who think that control from the
boardroom can be directly applied to government. Where others (like
David F. Brooks) say government should be budgeted like a corporation,
at least when it comes to looting the pension fund to fund executive
bonuses--you know, tough choices--Li is saying that government should be
as authoritarian as a corporation.

On 6 jul 2012, at 10:49, nettime's avid reader wrote:

> Eric X. Li: Democracy Is Not the Answer
> [Eric X. Li, a venture capitalist, has emerged as one of the most
> skillful and vigorous defender of the Chinese Governance model to
> Western audiences. Skillful,indeed. F.]
> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-x-li/democracy-is-not-the-answ_b_15
> 20172.html
> Posted: 05/16/2012 7:34 am
> This is a written Q&A with Rachel Beitarie of the Israeli daily
> newspaper the Calcalist, published on May 3, 2012.
> Beitarie: I would like to start not with a comparison of the Chinese
> and other systems of government, but by a look at the Chinese model
> itself. You said at the talk with Anand Giridharadas at the Aspen
> Institute (I'm rephrasing a bit) that we know what the Chinese model
> isn't -- it isn't liberal democracy, and it isn't capitalism, but
> that what it is was not yet well defined. Could you try and define it
> anyway? What is the end of the Chinese model and what are the means to
> get there?

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