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Red Roulette, by a Billionaire Chinese Crybaby

Introduction After it all, “I thought that China wasn’t as bad as Americans tended to think.” (182) That’s the conclusion of billionaire Desmond Shum, author of Red Roulette* – his autobiographical account of how he and his wife, Whitney Duan, rose from rags to riches in the go-go years of China’s developmental miracle. Whitney and the Road to Wealth Born in the late 1960s, during the Cultural Revolution, both Whitney and Desmond received a normal education as children. She then enrolled in a military university in 1986. (73) As an outstanding student, she obtained employment as an executive’s assistant in “a real estate development company run by China’s military.” (74) At the time, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had numerous business interests, and Whitney started making connections with the elite among them. Later, the PLA was ordered to divest itself of these businesses as an anti-corruption measure by CCP General Secretary, Jiang Zemin in 1997. (75) The year before that, pe
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Re-Interpreting the Meaning of China for the USA

Introduction* American perceptions of China lean towards the negative. Taking a morally judgmental stance, “Half of Americans now say China’s policy on human rights is a very serious problem for the U.S. – up 7 percentage points since last year. … And nine-in-ten Americans say China does not respect the personal freedoms of its people.” 64% of conservative Republicans view China as an “enemy” – far more than any other US group. Currently, 55% of Americans as a whole see China as a “competitor.” 34% agree that China is “an enemy.” And, a measly 9% regard China as a “partner.” [1] Yet, there is nothing in the way of the US and China seeing themselves as partners in trade and cultural exchanges, like the US sees itself with European countries; that is, nothing but misunderstanding. How China is like us – that is, we Americans I think it is very unfortunate that the American people understand China in the wrong way. The public’s understanding of China has been grossly distorted by the US m

Is Interpretive Political Science Just Journalism? A Comparison of Wildland, On the Run, and Evicted.

Two of the major leaders in the political science interpretivist movement are Dvora Yanow and Peregrine Schwartz-Shea. They hold occasional chautauquas in which issues related to interpretivism are discussed. On one occasion, it was said that interpretivism is often accused of being little more than a glorified form of journalism, and not worthy of any claims to being “scientific.” I will contest that claim in this post. I will use three well received books concerning American politics. These are: Wildland , by Even Osnos, which uses a journalistic approach. This will be compared with two exemplary applications of the methods used in interpretive political science: On the Run , by Alice Goffman and Evicted , by Matt Desmond. [1] One major difference here, in my view, is that political science writing, if it is to make a claim to being “scientific,” contains a causal theme within its narrative. Journalism is generally narrative without disciplining itself to formulating any causal expl

A Breakthrough in Value Science will Change the Way Political Science is Done

David Easton (1952) understood that a clearly defined interpretive framework can serve the normative function of guiding research. He intended his concept of the “political system” to provide that service. He said more than he knew. For, when combined with the Formal Axiology of Robert S. Hartman, Easton’s interpretive framework can provide a service he did not quite envision.  Easton’s concept of the political system can also serve as a standard, or conceptual norm, for assessing the  goodness  of political systems, and for comparing the goodness of systems. This is not a matter of moral approval or approbation, but more like the taxonomist assessing the goodness of a specimen, as to both its categorical fit and its health, i.e., a scientific goodness. Thus Easton’s interpretive framework provides political science with a way to move beyond its traditional explanatory function into the new realm of evaluating the scientific goodness of political systems. Once a set of behaviors on the

How Political Science Interpretive and Mixed Methods can Deter the Coming Cold War between China and the USA

In a recent paper, published online by the American Political Science Association preprint service and Cambridge University Press [1], I showed that there are three key standards for assessing the goodness of any political system. The first is that the social interactions under consideration fit the definition of a “political system,” as defined by David Easton. That is, behavior undertaken in relation to the authoritative allocation of values. The second standard is that of the system’s operational goodness. That is, its efficiency and effectiveness at the allocation of values. The third standard is the way people living in the system feel about their experience in it. That is, population affect. Assessing that affect requires the political scientist to focus on the politically relevant feelings of the people, especially what Easton means by the term “political happiness.” [2] The paper shows why, within this interpretive framework, population affect is the most important index of a p

Regenerating the APSA with a Focus on Feelings

The Political Science Profession can be re-oriented to strive to make a better world, country by country. Political scientists all over the world can do research and writing which assesses the “Goodness” of any political system. The well-established definition of the “political system,” by David Easton, can serve as a standard, or norm, by which to assess the “goodness” of a political system, and for comparing the goodness of different political systems. This approach is not a matter of moral approval or approbation, but more like the taxonomist assessing the goodness of a specimen, as to both its categorical fit and its health. One of the main ways for assessing the goodness of any political system is to find out how the people living in the system feel about it. That is, look at w hat Easton calls “politically relevant feelings.” What is the actual lived experience of a system’s membership? Does that result in anger, alienation, or "political happiness"? Only interpretive a

How Interpretive Political Science Can Help to Save the Environment

APSA This year's APSA conference theme is “Promoting Pluralism.” [1] The APSA wants the profession to be seen as a home for a multitude of methods for studying politics. Whether political actors are understood as individual mechanical actors in a chain of causation, or as self-initiating, meaning creating persons engaged in a collective enterprise, the APSA pretends all viewpoints are equal.    One effect of such propaganda is to preserve the privileged position of the profession’s positivist elites – both schools and individuals – while inhibiting the humanistic growth of the field. As I have argued in prior posts, this APSA strategy reduces political science to an academic field with little relevance either to real public policy making, or to the improvement of society. [2] One urgently needed public policy improvement concerns the way in which our hi-tech society interacts with its natural environment. Toxic gases causing global warming, clear cutting oxygen producing fo