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Just Hierarchy Reviews

Just Hierarchy by Daniel Bell

Just Hierarchy: Why Social Hierarchies Matter in China and the Rest of the World

Daniel Bell

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 3 Mar 2020
ISBN: 9780691200897

A trenchant defense of hierarchy in different spheres of our lives, from the personal to the political All complex and large-scale societies are organized along certain hierarchies, but the concept of hierarchy has become almost taboo in the modern world.

3 stars out of 5
Rana Mitter
24 Jan 2020

"written in the form of a lively conversation with plenty of provocative examples"

Bell and Wang point out that there are other hierarchical, meritocratic organisations that lack transparency, such as Goldman Sachs or the Catholic Church. Again, these are entities not noted for gender diversity. Bell and Wang do grant that there is a “gap” between the rhetoric and reality of gender equality. But the lack of women in senior roles in the CCP shows something more complex than a gap; it brings into question the whole idea of “merit” and “the best” as a socially constructed term, since the winners are overwhelmingly Han Chinese and male. Of course, liberal societies also have gender prejudice. But if Bell and Wang’s case is that meritocracy needs neither democratic choice of top leaders nor transparency of selection of bureaucrats, it has to be held to a higher standard to show that the results are genuinely the “best” choice possible. In an organisation like the CCP that claims to be representative but does not tolerate openness, it is not enough “just [to] accept” its lack of diversity.

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