The Introversive Political Meritocracy: A Political Possibility Beyond “The End of History”

  • Guodong SunEmail author
Original Paper


The criticisms of the falsity of universal recognition carried out by leftists, led by Karl Max, and the queries of its desirability proposed by rightists, represented by Friedrich Nietzsche, raise challenges to Francis Fukuyama’s theory of “the end of history” from two opposite directions. At present, Chinese-style political meritocracy based on the party state is a political form that combines these left-wing and right-wing challenges and has the potential to move beyond “the end of history”. However, whether it can truly surpass “the end of history” depends on whether it can form a desirable and stable alternative political form under modern conditions. To this end, Chinese-style political meritocracy must respond positively to the three challenges it faces under modern conditions: the tension between “debichengwei” (one’s virtue must have a matching position, 德必称位) and moral universalism, the corrosion of social justice from the hierarchical social structure caused by “weibichenglu” (one’s position must have a matching salary, 位必称禄), and the threat of social indoctrination to individual autonomy. The “introversive political meritocracy” jointly shaped by “advocating morals for the public,” “arete based on altruism,” and “introversive self-cultivation” is a desirable political form that can successfully respond to these three challenges.


The end of history Political meritocracy Modernity Arete based on altruism Introversive self-cultivation 


  1. Bai, Tongdong. 2013. A Confucian Version of Hybrid Regime: How Does It Work, and Why Is It Superior? In East Asian Challenge for Democracy: Political Meritocracy in Comparative Perspective, ed. Daniel A. Bell and Chenyang Li. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bell, Daniel A. 2015. The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chan, Wing-tsit. 1963. A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Chen, Duanhong. 2010. Constituent Power and Fundamental Law. Beijing: China Legal Publishing House.Google Scholar
  5. Ci, Jiwei. 2014. Moral China in the Age of Reform. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fukuyama, Francis. 1992. The End of History and the Last Man. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  7. Fukuyama, Francis. 2014. At “the End of History” Still Stands Democracy. The Wall Street Journal 6 June.Google Scholar
  8. Jiang, Qin. 2003. Political Confucianism: Turning, Characteristics and Development of Contemporary Confucianism. Beijing: Joint Publishing.Google Scholar
  9. Kant, Immanuel. 1996. Towards Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Project. In Practical Philosophy, ed. Immanuel Kant (trans: Gregor, Mary J.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Liang, Siqi. 2012. Political Democracy or Political Meritocracy? 5. Issue: China Reform.Google Scholar
  11. Sun, Guodong. 2016. Functionalist View of the Rule of Law: Analysis of China’s Political Ideal and Practical Constraints in Terms of the Rule of Law. In Research on the Rule of Law in Transitional China, ed. Guodong Sun et al. Shanghai: Truth & Wisdom Press.Google Scholar
  12. Walzer, Michael. 1983. Spheres of Justice: A Defense of Pluralism and Equality. New York: Basic Books Inc.Google Scholar
  13. Weingast, Barry R. 2009. Why Developing Countries Prove So Resistant to the Rule of Law. In Global Perspectives on the Rule of Law, ed. James J. Heckman et al. London: Routledge-Cavendish.Google Scholar
  14. Xiong, Shili. 2008. Qiankunyan. Shanghai: Shanghai Bookstore Publishing House.Google Scholar
  15. Xunzi. 2014. Xunzi: The Complete Text (trans: Hutton, Eric L.). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Fudan University 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fudan Institute for Advanced Study in Social SciencesFudan UniversityShanghaiChina

Personalised recommendations