A descendant of German and Italian immigrants, José Stelle grew up in Brazil and received a multifaceted education in Brazil, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Politically, the decisive event of his life was the constitutional chaos of Brazil in the early 1960s leading to the Revolution of 1964, which he witnessed up close as a teenager because he lived in a military camp and had relatives in the armed forces. Next to that in importance were the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and the effect of these events on the United States in the 1960s and ’70s. Between 1980 and 1985, Mr. Stelle worked as opinion editor of Brazil’s weekly news magazine Visão, which promoted the economic ideas of the Austrian school, particularly of Hayek, in Brazil. In 1983 (with Donald Stewart, a Brazilian of Scottish background) he cofounded Rio de Janeiro’s Instituto Liberal, the educational and public-policy-research organization that proposed and promoted the privatization of the government’s massive stake in Brazil’s economy. (The transfer of some 90 percent of the government’s assets to the private sector was successfully carried out in the late 1980s and through the 1990s; it was ended in 2001 by President Silva’s socialist administration.) During these years, Mr. Stelle also edited the Portuguese-language version of F. A. Hayek’s main political works. He moved permanently to the United States in 1986. He has taught at the Catholic University of Paraná, in Curitiba, Brazil, and at Lynn University and Palm Beach State College, both in south Florida. From 2006 to 2007, Mr. Stelle was a resident scholar at the Public Interest Institute at Iowa Wesleyan College. From 2009 to 2012, he was a fellow of the Beloff Centre for the Study of Liberty, University of Buckingham, UK, where he is still a visiting scholar. In the fall semester of 2013 he delivered a series of lectures in constitutional studies at Fudan University, Shanghai, China. Recently, employing his 39-year experience in the United States, he began work on an interdisciplinary critique of American history and culture, with emphasis on the uncertain American experiment in “popular government.” In philosophy, Mr. Stelle favors realism and has a strong interest in metaphysics, ancient epistemology, and the work of the Scholastics. He lives in Lake Worth, Florida.
The China Lectures. Constitutional Reform in China: A Contribution to the Debate
by José Stelle
How can a modern society lay a solid foundation for further progress? In his book, José Stelle offers a guide to the constitutional reform necessary for any such project. Building on F.A. Hayek's model, he goes beyond Hayek’s constitutional “reinvention” to offer his own recipe for preventing unjust laws and constitutional abuses—and creating a system that promotes freedom, prosperity, and peace.
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