In China: Promise or Threat? Helle compares the cultures of China and the West through both private and public spheres. For China, the private sphere of family life is well developed while behaviour in public relating to matters of government and the law is less reliable. In contrast, the West operates in reverse. The book’s twelve chapters investigate the causes and effects of threats to the environment, military confrontations, religious differences, fundamentals of cultural history, and the countries’ orientations for finding solutions to societal problems, all informed by the Confucian impulse to recapture the lost splendour of a past versus faith in progress toward a blessed future. The West has promoted individualism while China is locked in its kinship society.
Horst Jürgen Helle
As founder of the humanist version of sociology, Simmel sent powerful messages that are identified and explained in this book: interpretation - things are often not what they appear to be; change- culture and society evolve over time; interaction - reality is socially constructed; alienation - people define the value of money without taking responsibility for this construction. Simmel sees humans defining objects in interaction as valuable or worthless, but then they refuse to acknowledge having anything to do with the process of value attribution. He is critical in politics as well; Simmel is concerned that socialism is treated as a political movement and not viewed as a potential form of social interaction.