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

That is the new book by Daniel A. Bell and Wang Pei.  It is perhaps not so novel to students of Jean Bodin and medieval political thought, or say Chinese history, but still the book crystallizes a moment and I consider its publication a matter of note.  Here is one short bit:

But which hierarchical relations are justified and why?  In our view, it depends on the nature of the social relations and the social context.  As a method, we are inspired by Michael Walzer’s call for a pluralistic approach to justice.  There is no one principle of justice appropriate for all times and places.  Our main argument is that different hierarchical principles ought to govern different kinds of social relations.  What justifies hierarchy among intimates is different from what justifies hierarchy among citizens; what justifies hierarchy among citizens is different from what justifies hierarchy among countries; what justifies hierarchy among countries is different from what justifies hierarchies between humand and animals, and…The sum total of our argument is that morally justified hierarchies can and should govern different spheres of our social lives…

The discussion of the Kama Sutra, and its notions of hierarchy, was interesting too.


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