Meritocracy Versus Democracy | NYTimes.com
But beneath this superficial contrast is a competition between two political models, one based more on meritocratic leadership and the other on popular election. And the Chinese model may win.
In fact, without much fanfare, Beijing has introduced significant reforms into its way of governance and established an elaborate system of what can be called “selection plus election.” Briefly, competent leaders are selected based on merit and popular support through a vigorous process of screening, opinion surveys, internal evaluations and various small-scale elections. The Communist Party of China may arguably be one of the world’s most meritocratic institutions.
Indeed, with the Chinese system of meritocracy in place, it is inconceivable that people as weak and incompetent as George W. Bush or Yoshihiko Noda of Japan could ever get to the top leadership position.