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The disasters that unleashed on the modern humanity undermined not only the belief in scientific progress, which contributes to the prosperity, but also the understanding of the direction and continuity of the universal history. Nevertheless, Fukuyama puts the reason of people’s pessimism to doubt and traces the profound crisis of authoritarianism, so characteristic for the last decades. While humanity is approaching the end of the millennium, authoritarianism and socialism have left only one participant standing to claim itself a potential universal ideology, namely, the liberal democracy. The latter aligns in itself the doctrine of personal freedom and sovereignty of the people. The triumph and the glory of the Western ideas seem preliminary in the total depletion of practicable systematic alternatives to Western liberalism. Nevertheless, the rise of China, though neglecting the Western model of development and political culture, disproves Fukuyama’s hypothesis of the end of history.
Liberal democracy as a value and as an institution is a relatively new phenomenon, which spread from Western Europe. The history of its distribution underlines that the success or failure in the perception of the values and institutions of democracy depends on their compatibility with local traditions. The uniqueness of the traditional Chinese culture has been the subject of countless debates in China and beyond. By the early 1990s, liberalism as an ideology and political movement occupied a prominent place in its social life. In the course of the reformation and development of a new policy, non-Marxist and anti-Marxist ideas began to appear in the country. All of them were constantly subjected to strong attacks, especially when formulated in theory. Nevertheless, many of the new principles and views penetrated the general population and provided the ground for further changes. However, it did not mean that these ideas were proclaimed openly, as a form of thinking had not been changed.
The notion of human imperfection, which entails the imperfect exercise of power, is considered to be the alleged foundation of liberal democracy. In other words, the realization that human nature is flawed leads to an understanding of the need to limit the power of institutions. These include the separation of authority, the rule of law, free competitive elections to ensure a peaceful transfer of power, independent press, laws protecting human rights, etc. The existence of these institutions and procedures lies in preventing the dictatorship and tyranny. Traditional Chinese culture was aware of the dark side of the human nature and did not deny the need to constrain government establishments. Meanwhile, the Chinese worldview is characterized by the idea that man is good by nature and all people are alike, despite the external differences in their behavior and habits.
One of the main goals of liberal democracy is to exercise control over the authorities, to prevent pressure on the people. From the perspective of Buddhism, the power and wealth are an illusion, as it is pointless to possess power and wealth at the expense of morality, inner peace, and physical health. Taoism claims that power and wealth harm its owner. These positionings are designed to suppress the thirst for power and wealth, thus, they are consistent with the principles of liberal democracy.
Nevertheless, it would be hard to overlook some of the elements of traditional culture that oppose the ideas of liberal democracy. One of the most significant of these ideas is paternalism, as due to confucianism ideas people have been firmly divided into higher and lower, which does not coincide with a democracy. Another opposition arises from the lack of individualism and the worthlessness of human life that are rooted in traditional Chinese mindset. The sense of justice, approval of the hierarchy and constant obedience in China are not compatible with the free will and people`s power in the West.
Considering the historical context of the authoritarian regimes of the 20th century, Fukuyama concludes that the key weakness, which incapacitated the powerful regimes, has been the inability to provide the state legitimacy. This means a crisis at the level of ideas: “The dominant trend in world politics for the past generation has been the critique of “big government””. Nevertheless, despite being incompetent and weak the government continues to be the main source of severe difficulties.
Fukuyama also considers China the biggest challenge for the world order due to its only partially marketed economy. Analysis of the socioeconomic model of China, should focus primarily on the objectives of social and economic policies, and the means of achieving them, as well as their horizontal and vertical structure. It is important to review the basic features of the model, the main of which is the ratio of market or other command-distribution principle of the functioning of the Chinese economy, as they have been rapidly modified in the past decades. Thus, assessing the viability and effectiveness would only be possible on the basis of this evolution, its focus being led from the principles of command and distribution in the increasing development of market mechanisms. Its gradualism ensured territorial and sectoral spread of market forces and market logic. At the present stage of evolution, the content of China's social and economic model does not apply to the breadth and depth of coverage of the economy market mechanisms: however, it involves the process of revising the objectives and means of the economic strategy of China.
Mockli states that “China’s rapid economic development is accompanied by an increasingly active foreign policy and growing military prowess”. Hence, the characteristic features of Chinese model include the orientation of the economy, especially industry, on the export, the use of cheap labor, attraction of foreign investments and creating conditions for it, as well as the active import of technologies, the high share of investment in GDP, authoritarianism. The last creates stability, which is important for raising capital.
The concept used in China provides a high rate of economic growth over the long term, makes it possible to raise the level of technology and productivity due to attraction of capital and technology. The result is a modernization of the country, the rapid growth of urbanization and the gradual rise in living standards. “The biggest development in the global economy over the past generation has become China’s opening up from self-imposed isolation and its reintegration with the world economy”. The Chinese government has relieved a great number of citizens from poverty, reached the stable levels of the economic escalation and began a global political and economic rise. Vuving believes that China will continue to follow an investment-intensive gain path, and this will lead to economic primacy despite the constructive imbalances.
Jones emphasizes that China’s changes in international identification and moving from being a developing country to a great power state can create an uncertainty on the global scale. Therefore, arises a need to ensure a stable international environment. However, despite the contradictions with Western norms of development, China has proved to be a prosperous country in political and economic terms. Moreover, China has repeatedly declared to the world that consistently follows the path of peaceful development. By means of an unagressive progress, active promotion of common development and prosperity of all countries, it is also making efforts to advocate peace in the world.
All in all, the country firmly focuses on economic construction, throws all of the forces into the modernization, paying attention to the development of basic and continuous releases, and develops social productive forces. China considers the concept of scientific development as the main guiding principle in the social and economic development. Moreover, it treats human rights and human values with respect, meets the growing needs of the people in the field of material culture, moves towards universal enrichment, and stimulates the fullest development with the support of the people.
The Chinese government comprehensively coordinates all aspects of sustainable development, comprehensively promotes economic, political, cultural and social construction, and the construction of ecological civilization. China pays attention to all relevant areas of public life, the correct approach and regulation of important aspects of socialism. Notably, on the way to its development, this country had to go through extensive and profound changes, it has made significant progress in the development, made an important contribution to the prosperity and stability of the world and has established important international relationships.
In conclusion, the Chinese culture obtains elements that are suitable for the liberal values and, at the same time, the opposing concepts. Due to the fact that in the 20th century most of the incompatible features have been eliminated in the globalization processes, the Chinese culture is presently able to assimilate liberal-democratic values. Finally, China has a potential to persuade the United States and Western Europe that its rise can be considered not as a threat, but as an ability to obtain prosperity and wealth. Xuetong states that “the assessment of China’s present power status in the world, to a certain extent, reflects people’s concern about the rise of China in the future”. The presence of China on the international arena is becoming more distinct, especially in the last three decades, due to its rapid economic growth. What is more, in the near future, it will be difficult not to take into account China as carrier of a political power. If China continues to gain economic power while preserving the authoritarian regime, it would certainly be a threat to the entire community of liberal democracies. This assumption underlies the widespread thesis about the China’s threat and stands to the Fukuyama’s belief in the end of the world.
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Nevertheless, if China goes from authoritarianism and along the path of liberal democracy, it will surely be able to make a great contribution to the development of freedom and democracy in the world. Looking back into history, and thinking about the future prospects, there is a belief that China, as developing and prosperous country with democratic and lawful society, will certainly make greater contributions to the development of the whole world.
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