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A book reading two countries (3)


11:09, January 19, 2013

In addition, Confucianism values education and promotes thrift and plain living, which can serve as an example for the American people to fix their nation's severe economic and social problems.

Lee is well aware of the difficulties that come with any culture change, and that it's even harder to get people to accept that of another nation. Therefore, she said the U.S. needs to adjust its policy to change the current mainstream cultural trend through the efforts of multiple generations. Overall, she is confident about the possibilities for change, claiming the way China encourages its media, government and social organizations to develop the Confucian principles and traditional thought can be studied by the U.S. as to promote the renewal of morality and change the pure core of people's lives.

In the chapter "Meritocracy," Lee criticizes the U.S. political system for creating an invisible elite, which does not take responsibility for anyone, does not answer to anyone and is indifferent to the public's interest. The solution Lee offers is to let more elites become government officials, answering to the people rather than the investors.

Lee's book proves helpful in gaining more insight into the misunderstandings between China and the U.S., and finding a way to resolve the issues -- which is the aim she mentions in the final chapter "Cocreating a Better World." Although the book's title may read "What the U.S. Can Learn from China," its epilogue is called "What China Can Learn from America," and it repeats the viewpoint given in the very beginning of the book that no country, including China and the U.S., has a monopoly on morality and knowledge, but seeing their own merits and demerits can avoid the pitfalls of weaknesses and multiply advantages. For a Chinese person, herein probably lies the most significant reason for reading this book.

The author is a scholar of politics living in France and the author of China Can Win.

This review was first published in Chinese and translated by Zhang Fang.

【1】 【2】 【3】

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