Can meritocracy replace democracy? A conceptual framework

He, Baogang and Warren, Mark E 2020, Can meritocracy replace democracy? A conceptual framework, Philosophy and social criticism, pp. 1-20, doi: 10.1177/0191453720948388.

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Title Can meritocracy replace democracy? A conceptual framework
Author(s) He, BaogangORCID iD for He, Baogang
Warren, Mark E
Journal name Philosophy and social criticism
Start page 1
End page 20
Total pages 20
Publisher SAGE Publications
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2020-08-17
ISSN 0191-4537
Keyword(s) authoritarian meritocracy
China model
democratic meritocracy
Arts & Humanities
Social Sciences
Summary Influenced by the example of China, a literature is emerging that advocates a modernized version of Confucian meritocracy, often as an alternative to liberal democracy and even democracy itself. We disagree with these arguments. A critical examination of the Chinese practices of meritocracy within the context of a regime that remains authoritarian is noticeably absent in the literature. This article addresses this gap and, in its findings, argues that political meritocracy, despite first appearances, does not offer a better alternative to liberal democracy. In contrast to many analyses, we do not view ‘meritocracy’ as a regime type but rather as an aspirational ideal that political leaders should have in merit their positions, relative to their functions. We develop a theoretical framework for comparing meritocratic features of regimes centred on a distinction between authoritarian meritocracy and democratic meritocracy. The framework brings into focus the ways in which the authoritarian features of the Chinese political systems undermine meritocratic claims and aspirations.
Language eng
DOI 10.1177/0191453720948388
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 1606 Political Science
2202 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields
2203 Philosophy
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Arts and Education
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
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