02 January 2010

Book: Beyond Democracy to Post-Democracy

In 2004, Peter Baofu published the two volumes of his "Beyond Democracy to Post-Democracy: Conceiving a Better Model of Governance to Supercede Democracy" (Edwin Mellen Press):

Vol. 1: www.mellenpress.com/mellenpress.cfm?bookid=6144&pc=9
Vol. 2: www.mellenpress.com/mellenpress.cfm?bookid=6145&pc=9

Publisher's description: "Contrary to the belief of many contemporaries, democracy is as evil and good as non-democracy. This sounds shocking, since democracy (of whatever version) enjoys its triumphant moment in our age, to the effect that there is a widespread belief of democracy, unlike non-democracy, as most congenial to the celebration (not condemnation) of difference. This democratic/non-democratic dichotomy therefore privileges democracy as the highest political achievement of human civilization, such that everywhere there have been endless discussions of how and why different societies and cultures are to adopt it, all in the celebration of difference in our time.

"Dr. Baofu, in this wide-ranging work, shows how and why the democratic idea of difference becomes the democratic mystique of difference. His inquiry reveals, in the end, how and why democracy privileges itself by an untenable dichotomy and is essentially contingent on the historical needs of society and the dominant themes of culture in our time. Democracy will not last (to be superseded by what Dr. Baofu originally called 'post-democracy'), just as aristocracy before it could not. The difference is that we believe in our version of historical destiny now, just as those before us believed in theirs then, and those after us will believe in theirs in the future.

"As an anti-hero of our time, Baofu's critique against the sacrosanct idea of democracy earns few friends and wins few hearts, in an age where the democratic idea reigns supreme as its god."

From the Foreword by Sylvan Von Burg (School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University): "It's not often that an innovative thinker comes along to question, in the manner of Socrates, the most strongly held beliefs of Western Civilization. Peter Baofu [...] brings with him an unusual perspective of democracy, that prompts him to observe, as did the boy in Hans Christian Anderson's The Emperor's New Clothes, that reality is not what others perceive. [...] And so it is, that Dr. Baofu, a scholar in Political Science, challenges us to conceive a better model of governance to supersede democracy. It's a clarion call to arms to move beyond democracy."

Table of contents: Introduction: The Democratic Idea; Chapter 2: Myth #1 – Democracy Is More Lawful; Chapter 3: Myth #2 – Democracy Is More Truthful; Chapter 4: Myth #3 – Democracy Is More Benevolent; Chapter 5: Myth #4 – Democracy Is More Peaceful; Chapter 6: Myth #5 – Democracy Is More Tolerant; Conclusion: The Democratic Mystique

Unfortunately, at almost 250 dollars for both volumes, this publication is hardly affordable to individual scholars.

Two years earlier, in 2002, Baofu had already published (equally expensive) "The Future of Capitalism and Democracy" (University Press of America):


From the publisher's description: "In The Future of Capitalism and Democracy, Peter Baofu evaluates how and why capitalism and democracy have failed at the institutional, organizational, structural, cultural, systemic, cosmological, and bio-psychological levels in order to synthesize the often conflicting ideals of freedom, equality, and fraternity (broadly defined to include all dimensions of life), so much cherished by many minds since the modern era. And this is so, even if democracy and capitalism have different meanings in different cultures and societies. In the end, Baofu shows that capitalism and democracy, hegemonic as they are in the post-Cold War era, are just experiments in history and will not last, just as feudalism and aristocracy before them could not."

Peter Baofu, an ethnic Chinese born in Vietnam, received his PhD in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was a Fulbright Scholar in the Far East and has taught at different universities in Europe, the Middle East, and America, including the MIT, Harvard, and Johns Hopkins.

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