Theresa Scavenius and David Bell on democracy and "The China Model" in Information – University of Copenhagen

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19 April 2016

Theresa Scavenius and David Bell on democracy and "The China Model" in Information

On April 14th NIAS (Nordic Institute of Asian Studies) arranged a debate between Theresa Scavenius and David Bell. David Bell has recently published The China Model in which he points to the advantages of political meritocracy as it is found in present-day China. He argues that such a model is better able to make the necessary decisions to fight climate change as well as other far-reaching political problems.

This defense of meritocracy is in line with a broader tendency to claim that democracy is insufficient to solve a number of significant political problems. The reason being that politicians are elected so frequently that the system becomes unable to solve problems that require long-range solutions.

This debate is taken up in two articles published in Information on April 18th and 19th. Here Theresa Scavenius agrees that current Western democracy is impaired and has proved unable to make the necessary political decision to fight climate change. However, she argues, the solution is not to further weaken democracy, the solution is more democracy. The argument is that these problems arise because the electoral mandates of Westerns democracies are too weak. Further, Scavenius argues that democracy is fundamentally the only form of government that is able to bring about sustainable and legitimate solutions to global challenges.

Scavenius’ and Bell’s debate of this question can be found here and the article by Jørgen Steen Nielsen covering the debate between the two can be found here