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Discovering the Real “Society”: Rethinking the Ontological Hypothesis of the Western Theory of Governance

Social Sciences in China Review

No.3, 2019

 

Discovering the Real “Society”: Rethinking the Ontological Hypothesis of the Western Theory of Governance (Abstract)

 

Yang Guangbin

 

In the past 30 years, “democracy” and “governance” have been popular concepts in the international social sciences. Many people regard “governance” as a substitute value for “ruling” and “management.” However, world politics has not become better because of the prevalence of the notion of governance. The problems caused by liberal democracy are well-known. The root cause is that the theory of governance is based on the assumption that people are rational, society is good, and the state is evil, assuming that all societies are equal and legalized civil societies with public spirit. In fact, “social nature” is diverse. The United States today is a typical unbalanced pluralist interest group society. South America is a “Praetorian society” established by various groups to share the public interest. Africa is a “strong society” in which the “nation” is abducted by various “local villains.” The Greater Middle East is a theocratic Islamic society. India is a caste society in which high caste people control all kinds of higher associations. All of them demonstrate that many countries are disorganized and lack cooperativeness and lack the capacity for institutional integration and national governance. In these societies, the promotion of “denationalization” and the strengthening of the governance of social power will inevitably lead to unintended consequences. For them, what is most needed is a theory of developmental capability, rather than a theory of denationalized governance.