In This Review

Asian Power and Politics: The Cultural Dimensions of Authority
Asian Power and Politics: The Cultural Dimensions of Authority
By Lucian W. Pye
Harvard University Press, 1985, 414 pp
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This is a rich and stimulating analysis which will be the subject of much scholarly debate. One of its main theses is that paternalistic concepts of power differentiate Asian approaches to modernization from those of the West. Whereas Westerners associate progress with greater scope for individual autonomy, Asians are more inclined to believe that happiness comes from suppressing self-interest in favor of group solidarity. This stress on group loyalty encourages a leadership style which often strikes Westerners as highly authoritarian. But, Pye argues, it is a valid response to people's needs and will help ensure community solidarity. He predicts that some new version of modern society will emerge from Asia's accelerating transformation and that it is likely to be "a form of democracy which is blended with much that Westerners might regard as authoritarian."