This second Helmsman Ruler blog was set up to facilitate my contribution to China Daily Mail for my book which was published in March 2013.
More postings can be found in my primary blog helmsmanruler.blog.hk.
China’s pragmatic version of Plato’s ideal political succession system in The Republic
 interpret and give a formal name to the “once-in-a-decade” transition of power in China as a pragmatic version of Plato’s ideal,
 systematically examine the system’s features, and
 provide a platform for future analyses.
A Comparative Study of China’s political succession with other non-democratic thoughts and/or systems:
 Plato’s rotational philosopher ruler in The Republic,
 the liberal Germanophiles’ open-yet-authoritarian elite theory of the 1890s-1920s,
 the rotational governorship of colonial Hong Kong in the 1950s-70s,
 the British cadet system of Hongkong Bank in the 1940s-70s’ and
 Carl Schmitt’s autonomous economic administration (1932) proposed for the Weimar Republic.
It is written in a style for general readers.
It is argued that three key features of China’s present experimental political succession system, named the Helmsman Ruler System (HRS) in this book, parallel Plato’s rotational ruler model: “those who have (i) come through all our practical and intellectual tests with distinction must be brought to their final trial … and when their turn comes they will, (ii) in rotation, …do their duty as Rulers… And so, when they have (iii) brought up successors like themselves to take their place as Guardians, they will depart to the islands of the blest…”(Plato: The Republic < 540a-b>, translated by Desmond Lee, Penguin Books, first published in 1955). The “open recruitment” and “possession of private property and family” in China are pragmatic differences from Plato’s prototype.
Under the System, the leading positions are handed over to persons without kinship to the predecessors. The rulers are openly recruited, purposively trained and educated, and competitively selected. It has also been an institutionalized practice that they take turns to be at the helm, and retire when their tenure ends. Two paradigms, the “debate” and “struggle” models, are constructed to analyze the ruler-selection process.
Through the Helmsman Ruler System, the Chinese Communist Party has not only remolded the authoritarian state into an open-yet-authoritarian state by providing fluid socio-political mobility to the ordinary citizens, but also succeeded in managing China as a gigantic business conglomerate to serve the national interest. With the System and based on the Platonic dichotomy between the state and economy, China has coincidentally tri-partitioned its political economy with an intermediate domain called autonomous economic administration, which is composed of state-owned enterprises, business chambers and occupational organizations, to train its helmsmen and draw allegiance of the capitalists and professionals to the state in a Hegelian way.
The Helmsman Ruler System as the embodiment of the national affirmation of the Platonic virtue of propriety may enable China to chart out a new path of development, and avoid the vicious cycle of technocentrism and consumerism.
A free preview is now available at Amazon Look Inside and Scribd the digital library .
Video presentation to provide a brief introduction to the Helmsman Ruler System is available on YouTube in English, German, Turkish, Bulgarian and Spanish.
I wrote the book simply out of my intellectual interest in Plato’s philosophy and China’s politics. I have no connection with the Chinese Communist Party except my uncle who has been working in a small town hospital is a party member.
Questions and comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ch 1 Helmsman, not Philosopher
From Plato to China
Leaders at Helm
Concepts and Definitions
Effects of the Helmsman Ruler System on China
Ch 2 From Plato’s Ideal to Building an Open-yet-authoritarian State
Plato’s Dichotomy between Authoritarian Governance and Economy
A Platonic experiment in Latin America
China 1978: Could Authoritarianism co-exist with Capitalism?
A Platonic Dichotomy in Colonial Hong Kong 1950s-70s
Inclusive Administration and State Building
Germanophilism and the open-yet-authoritarian elite theory 1890s-1920s
The Chinese national aspiration for socio-political mobility
Citizens as (co)nationals
An Open-yet-authoritarian Definition of “Democracy”
Ch 3 Helmsman Ruler at work: For Socio-political Mobility
Power and Institutionalization
Open Recruitment of the CCP and the Civil Service
The Communist Youth League of China
Increasing emphasis on recruiting civil servants from ordinary families
Education and the Party Schools System
A rite of passage
The political functions
Examination, Rotational Posting, Promotion and the Lists
Rotational posting as dialectic
Bianzhi and Nomenklatura
Ch 4 Helmsman Ruler at work For Selection of Rulers
Succession and Retirement
Two selection paradigms
An analysis by applying the Struggle Model
An analysis by applying the Debate Model
The Models and Institutionalization of the System
Ch 5 Helmsman Ruler at work with a Tri-partitioned Political Economy
China and Western Economics
From rapid growth to slowdown
Economics in crisis
Carl Schmitt’s domain in between the state and the private sector
China’s Autonomous Economic Administration (AEA)
China’s AEA: The Occupational Organizations and the Party Organs
The red capitalists and the business associations
Experimental application of a Plato-Hegel-Schmitt approach to authoritarian governance
China’s AEA: The State-owned Enterprises
From Sir A Morse to GM Sayer at Hongkong Bank 1950s-70s
Guardianship as a factor of production for China plc
From China plc to the new nomos of the Earth
Ch 6 Helmsman Ruler at work in the Anthropocene
Anthropocene and the Helmsman Ruler System
Adam Smith’s propriety, prudence and benevolence
A feasible alternative
About the Author:
Keith K C Hui is a Chinese University of Hong Kong graduate major in Government and Public Administration, a Fellow of The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (UK), and now a retired businessman.