Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Science and Society / Analytical work: the experience of Russian and foreign experts / Articles
A review of the book "Smart management for the XXI century: a Middle way between West and East"
Material posted: Publication date: 30-05-2013

The book of Bergruen and Gardels "Intelligent governance for the XXI century: a Middle way between West and East" has repeatedly received coverage in the materials of our website where attention was drawn to what the authors propose to return to the classical model of democracy, and that modern democratic model involves the politicization of the issues and problems that otherwise could be subject to a purely technical consideration.

Team member of the Terra America authors Vasily Vanchugov indicates that the appeal of Western intellectuals to the wisdom of the East is not without precedent in the history of culture. Should Russia use the recipes of Bergruen and Gardels – this question we put before this workshop? Let's hope that the answers will be interesting and reasonable.

* * *

When one of the authors – the billionaire, the book is already becoming a focus of attention. But in this case, special interest is due stated on the cover theme: in 2012, Nicolas Berggruen and Nathan Gardels published a book on the problem of intellectualization of coexistence of actors and systems — "Smart management for the XXI century: a Middle way between West and East" (Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century: A Middle Way Between West and East).

Nicolas Berggruen – American billionaire German origin, among ancestors whose paternal and maternal line were Jews, Austrians, Albanians. Bergruen – the art collector with a passion for architecture, investor and philanthropist, known worldwide as the "homeless billionaire". Our Vladimir Nabokov, after departure from St. Petersburg in 1917, until his death in 1977 had their own homes, preferring to live in hotels. Bergruen, which, according to Forbes Magazine has a fortune of $2.3 billion, also has his house and car.

Billionaire freed themselves from the usual ordinary people attachment to "ownership". His "homelessness", he shows that his home is the whole world. Who controls the world, that belong to all houses. Of course, no one did Bergruen not going to take away. His book is not about that. But still, having all the movable and immovable property is certainly worth it to read...

Bergruen lives rather in the mode of management rather than ownership. His business strategy of "value investing". He invests money in projects that are not only able to increase his fortune, but also help local and global communities to rid of social problems-he's a socially-oriented investments. Bergruen convinced that all social problems can be solved by a competent investments.

It's not Confucian "low man" in his actions guided only by considerations of personal gain, who is looking for accomplices, but do not respect them or who solicits favors and get what you want, forget about gratitude. Bergruen behaves like a "noble man", the perfect man of Confucius, cultivating moral values, cognizant of their duties and acting for the benefit of society.

Among its investment projects – the Institute in his name (Nicolas Berggruen Institute), which formulates and promotes a plan of "good governance". Policy needs investment, primarily based on the dominance values, supplanted by the pragmatic reason on the second plan. Bergruen trying to change the approach to the management of States, which focused on two-party competition and whose rationality is based on a trivial binary oppositions. In the movement of capital Berggruen sees the symbolic expression of a dialogue of civilizations, so its own state is trying to use it to invest in cultural mediation, and to reach the position of a mediator – a third, neutral, independent person helps the two parties to resolve the dispute.

Dialogue of civilizations for his kind of religion, doctrines which are a schematic representation that is understandable to the person having to play draughts. The main goal pursued by Bagryana – reformation of the world through the "smart management" and this same office subordinate. On the basis of his Institute (NBI), he created the international organization "Council of the twenty-first century" (The 21st Century Council), which he calls the "shadow government of the G20". The Council brings together leading world politicians and experts, including our former Minister of Finance Alexey Kudrin.

Next summit the Council will be held this year in India, and in turn, and a meeting in Russia. All this leads us to an attentive reading of the book, for me personally interesting and relevant in the context of a reading by me at MSU interfaculty course "Dangerous perfect: project perfect life". Well, considering my recent visit to Shanghai and meeting with local specialists in Russian in the format of the conference "Russian philosophy in the conflict of Eastern and Western cultures", I noticed when reading the collaborative effort of Bergruen and Gardels primarily on the subject of China.

The Chinese theme is present throughout the book, sometimes it is receding into the background, dominating, as if following the dynamics of the interaction of "Yin and Yang". It is also reflected in the Chapter titles (e.g., "American consumer democracy and the modern Chinese system of governance"), and the contents of all the sections on the analysis of two civilizations began in the context of "smart governance" (for example, the head of "liberal democratic constitutionalism and meritocracy: the possibilities of synthesis", which compares the "quality" of political meritocracy and electoral democracy, as different forms of governance, and examines the views of Western thinkers in the context of Confucian precepts).

The title of the book there is a favourite by many "between", "between East and West." Many were pleased to entertain the hope of finding a "middle ground", get off at the third, the true way. In the same direction are two of the "noble man" – Bergruen with Gardencom. Saying "East" they mean China. Today it is China monopolized domain of the geopolitical "East". This is not just a country, but a popular place for references of guidance, the source of quotes... Modern China has become for experts of various stripes what once was "Egypt," country of the pyramids, symbols, pharaohs, tablets, esoteric knowledge, the alpha and omega. Now China has all, and more... China everywhere. Came the other day, I friends and on the TV Henry Kissinger on the question of responding, and behind it – the plate and the vase... in Chinese.

The West and the East that came together in "the Ballad of East and West" Kipling ("West is West, East is East"), once again combined in the book of Bergruen and Gardels. Can not help feeling that the author was kept in the imagination from the first page to the last symbols of the "great limit", Yin and Yang: two opposite and complementary started, present everywhere in China, from state administration to the relations of people in daily life. This symbol of the creative unity of opposites in the Universe (depicted as a circle divided by a wavy line into two halves — dark and light, Yin and Yang), is the "optics" of authors, defines their syntax and semantics.

They quote his associate George Yeo (from Singapore), for which Dao is deeper than Hegelian philosophy. If Western thought (Hegel, Fukuyama) leads to apology the end of the story, then East to its infinity, or rather, cyclical, bringing together individual and collective, the power and freedom; the Western mind is prone to a discrete view of the world, East to the continuum, holistic. If Kipling's East and West joined the war, then Bergruen and Gardels unites them "complexity and diversity" of the world.

The authors claim its pragmatism, but also about the fundamental deideologized, vnematelnost. They do not claim the role of judges, to prove to the reader, whose model is better, Western or Eastern. They only want to teach the people that inhabit these corners of the world, using their best qualities, to improve the political climate through dialogue of civilizations. The dialogue of civilizations leads to the establishment of balance is not only global but also local – within individual civilizations.

To understand the meaning by the authors is useful to remember when reading their books on the above-mentioned character, paying attention to the symmetrically located inside the circle the two dots of light on a dark background and dark on light. In sinological semiotics this suggests that each of the two great forces of the Universe carries within itself the germ of the opposite beginning. Well, if in the context of this symbol to look at the States and China, the Yin and Yang of "Western" democracy and "Eastern" meritocracy must find a harmonic consonance, presented as "reasonable democracy" (knowledgeable democracy), on the one hand, and "accountable meritocracy" (accountable meritocracy).

Available technology and electoral democracy in the consumer society, the authors say, has its flaws. Cultivating the Western society is losing the ability of self-regulation that leads to an inevitable decline. But the East is on the rise, and, following meritocratic principles, "red dynasty" of China (Communist party) withdrew from the poverty line more than 300 million people. Without a strategy and long-term investments that would have failed. Meritocracy, unlike democracy, long-term oriented, and that Western democratic society is focused on the "here and now" in "tomorrow" but not "day after tomorrow", as it is customary in China.

The main message of this book is democracy must become more reasonable and open meritocracy. First, in practice, means the decentralization of the whole system of decision making – these need to go to communities (communes) active citizens, in accordance with their competences. Should abandon the old political system, when decision making is delegated to elected periodically by the masses "representatives" of its opinions, and to rely on smart voter (intelligent electorate), which is the main part, and a link-ordering the authors of "smart democracy".

On the other hand, meritocracy should be accountable, which implies control of society, control of elites from the masses, but within reason. Meritocratic principle of rule gives constructive independence elites, the rejection of populism, common in traditional Western societies, for election to the authorities promised the masses all pleasantly in their ears.

In the end, the authors rely on symbiosis, coexistence on a planetary scale responsible democracy, a reasonable voter and accountable meritocracy.

Following the precepts of Bergruen and Gardels, democracy takes ochlocracy, rising in the face of their intellectual representatives of a notch, and traditional meritocracy becomes consciously on the step below, not degrading his dignity, understanding reasonably necessary global structural changes in modern society. There is a mutual convergence of reasonable political figures, though maintaining a distance due to functional features. This state can be likened to the two hemispheres of the brain. Not to say that left or right is better, each has its own dominant. Existing hemispheric asymmetry of cognitive processes (functional specialization of the hemispheres) means that the implementation of some mental functions leading hemisphere is left, the other right. Something similar happens in "political body".

The authors of the book "Intelligent governance for the XXI century" in favour of intelligent society, why democracy must learn from the meritocracy, and meritocracy to take into account the experience of democracy. But since both the beginning – let's denote them as "democratic Yin" and "Yang meritocratic" is included in the terms of the universal cyclic turnover and changes, then, ultimately, we should obtain a single that combines a wise democracy and a rational meritocracy. Well, if you Express the intention of the authors is extremely simple, we can say that they offer the type of democratic society, implying a meritocracy or meritocracy, functioning within a democratic community.

It should be noted that even Thomas Jefferson, Voltaire reading, learning from him about Confucius, came to the admiration of the Chinese bureaucracy, whose power consists in teaching, and the quality of the bureaucrat is evaluated on numerous exams. Attractive this bureaucracy and for Bergruen with Gardencom what both are saying not only in this book. So in the article "Google vs. Confucius" stated that "China may be more open to fundamental political reform than the United States" (Nicolas Berggruen and Nathan Gardels, vs Google. Confucius). Speaking about the essence of modern meritocracy, which you can learn from the example of China, Bergruen and Gardels quote contemporary Chinese followers of Confucius, asserting that in the post-Communist era, where the focus is on the output of China to a higher level of development, institutions for the legitimization must rely on their own tradition – a meritocratic knowledge of the governing class.

In the context of this theme we should mention canadian Daniel A. bell, Professor of philosophy at Tsinghua University in Beijing (Tsinghua University in Beijing), the author of the treatise "New Confucianism in China: politics and everyday life in a changing society"[1] and co-author of the book "a Confucian constitutional order: how China's past may determine its political future"[2]. When in the autumn of 2012, the Chinese Communist party chose new leaders "behind closed doors", and Western observers saw in this a typical symptom of "authoritarian regime", he noticed something else: it is a political system that focuses on performance and not on popularity. China is no longer a representative of the classical dictatorship, he gives the example of "benign meritocracy" (for more details see: Daniel A. Bell. Political Meritocracy Is a Good Thing: The Case of China).

The final Chapter of the book of Bergruen and Gardels called "Survival of the West." For this they borrowed from the East his wisdom, manifested in the art of management. When they declared neutrality yet, all the Western (American) looking in the context of Eastern (Chinese). They are like in "Chinese glasses". States cause them to have more critical comments than China. Wanting to bring together West and East, the authors solve first to teach the West the wisdom of the East.

The latter, meanwhile, is moving towards the West, using all the tools of "soft power", including the global network called "the Confucius Institute" (see coverage territory is the United States).

The power of the States – the economy, the strength of China – the art of management. Authors with declared neutrality, obviously pretty Communist mandarins. Playing words, you could label them as "red mandarins". We are talking about those "products" that for millennia has grown in the political culture of China: the officials, well-educated and experienced are appointed to after passing the exams. Such mandarins are characteristic of modern China, building a market-Leninist-neo-Confucian.

Members of the Communist party, making a career, rising to the top of the social pyramid, all, without exception, pass through many "filters" (certainly preliminary work in the provincial authorities, party schools, etc.). They are chosen within a "Corporation" in merit, and not by the decision of the masses. Elite looking for a replacement, selecting decent. Something similar and plans to Bergruen to be planning infrastructure changes to the world. They are described in other sections of the book, which was and still will be a bit special.

Vasily Vanchugov

[1] China's New Confucianism: Politics and Everyday Life in a Changing Society, Princeton University Press, 2008.

[2] Jiang Qing, Daniel A. Bell. A Confucian Constitutional Order: How China's Ancient Past Can Shape Its Political Future, Princeton University Press, 2012.

Source: http://www.terra-america.ru/kitaiskaya-optika-v-americanskoi-oprave.aspx


RELATED MATERIALS: Science and Society