Neo confucianism as the basis for asian economic growth
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Neo-Confucianism as the Basis for Asian Economic Growth. J.D. Han with Yang Zheng. Confucius . 1. Confucius( 孔子 ) (B.C. 552-479) . His teachings are in “Dialectics (论语 ) ”. Confucius . 1) The Main Difference.

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1 confucius b c 552 479

1. Confucius(孔子)(B.C. 552-479)

His teachings are in



1 the main difference
1) The Main Difference

Compared with Western Christianity,the Confucianism is not a religion, but an ethic.

Judgment and morals norm can come from a personhimself,

Ideas come from the Jesus or God or other systems.

2 confucius s core ideas
2) Confucius’s Core Ideas

  • He disliked the society ruled by Laws, Regulations, and Punishments.

  • He believed that the society should be ruled by educated Leaders with a clear sense of Noblesse Oblige devoted to Humanity

    -> ‘Confucian Leadership Model’

1 benevolence
(1) Benevolence

  • The core value of Confucianism is rén (仁).

    - direct translation "benevolence "or Goodness

    - in concrete, it means the virtue of perfectly fulfilling one's responsibilities toward others.

(2) Justice

  • Yì can be translated as righteousness

  • This is doing the right thing for the right reason.

  • This balances out with Humanity.

(3) Etiquettes

  • Li,is described by using some forms of the word ‘ritual’, it has also been translated as ‘etiquette' and ‘rules of proper behaviors’.

4 knowledge
(4) Knowledge

  • Knowledge or wisdom

6 doctrine of the mean
(6) Doctrine of the Mean 中庸

  • Controllingpleasure, anger, sorrow, or joy, the mind may be said to be in the state of Equilibrium.

  • This comes from the Judgementto keep balance.

  • This leads to the state of Harmony (和).

7 life long learning and practicing
(7) Life-Long Learning andPracticing 学 习

  • Studying/Learning is a life-long process.

  • Leaning is to become a noble person with virtue of noblis = ‘Philosopher’ of Plato

  • Emphasizes “Practicing what is learned”

    -> Noble persons rule and lead

    -> ‘Phlisopher King’ of Plato

How did they work to be the system of institutions
How did they work to be the System of Institutions?

  • Leaders are to be Educated, Ethical, Benevolent Philosophers

  • Education + Bureaucrat Exam + Meritocracy provide competition for leadership

  • Members of each level of society follow the leaders without conflicts

Philosopher leader versus petty person
Philosopher Leader versus Petty Person

  • Virtue = Noblesse Oblige makes the difference

    - Continuous selection/refinement is needed.

  • Revolution against Petty Leaders is justified

Educated People

Philosopher Leaders

Petty Persons


  • Comparable to Plato’s “Philosopher King” in his Republic

  • Philosopher Leaders are to be devoted to Humanity, and Justice for members.

    -> Ground for political legitimacy

    -> Benevolent Dictatorship, not Democracy

    -> Efficient and effective.

2 changes in confucianism
2. Changes in Confucianism

  • What the Confucius said has not changed, but its Interpretation has changed.


  • Original Confucianism preceded the inflow of Buddhism in China from India

  • Confucianism became Tools for Oppression by the Han Dynasty.》

    -> Feudalistic Confucianism.

  • Oppressed people relied more and more on Buddhism and Taoism

  • With the challenge of Buddhism, Confucianism was innovated into Neo-Confucianism in the Song Dynasty(

3 the innovation of neo classical confucianism
3. The Innovation of Neo-Classical Confucianism

  • Ethical Aspect

    - Reemphasizing Humanity

    - Open up a possible Reform

1 zhu xi
1) Zhu Xi(朱喜)

founder ofNeo-Confucianism in Song Dynasty (A.D 960–1279)

He pushes Confucianism to a higher state, which make it become a Confucianism development milestone of the history

Main concept
Main Concept

  • Li (lĭ) is a concept found in Neo-Confucian Chinese philosophy. It’s the principle that is in everything and governs the universe. Each person has a perfect li.

  • Individuals should act perfectly moral

  • It may be translated as rational principle or rationality

His achievements
His Achievements

  • He added metaphysical dimensions (ideas from Taoism and Buddhism) into Confucianism.

  • Reemphasizing Cultivation of Mind( 心学 ), Ethic(道学), and Innovation (维新)

  • extending this Personal Ethic to Social Philosophy and National Religion.

2 huang zongxi 1610 95 95
2) Huang Zongxi (黄宗羲 1610-95)95)

  • Huang was notable for being one of the first Neo-Confucians to stress the need for constitutional law and considered as the father of the Enlightenment -> China’s Rousseau

  • “Light Recessed, and Waiting for the Dawn”(明夷待访录) was a summary of ideas about political reform.

  • The political tract begins with a condemnation of selfish autocratic rule, and declares that the world should belong to the people

3 kang youwei 1875 1927
3) Kang Youwei(康有为 1875-1927)

  • He argued for the combination of

    Western Technology (西器)

    + Chinese Neo-Confucianism (东道)

    + Socialist Communism

  • Emperor’s tutor; Constitutional Monarchist;

  • Neo-Confucian Reformer (孔子改制考)

4 tu weiming 1940
4) Tu Weiming (杜維明 1940-)

  • Professor of Harvard University

  • Sponsored by Prime Minister Li Kwan Yew of Singapore

  • He argued that Neo-Confucianism is conducive for personal edification as well as Economic Growth

  • Neo-Confucian Leadership is essential for Economic Growth

Confucianism economy
* Confucianism + Economy

  • Confucianism for Modesty, Thrifty

    -> Savings and Investment

  • Confucianism for Enlightenment

    -> Education and Human Capital

  • Confucianism for Order, Harmony, Doctrine of the Mean

    -> Social Capitial

  • Confucianism for Self-Edifying, Virtue, Noblesse-Oblige

    -> Governance: Minimum Transactions Cost and Maximum Leadership

    -Collectivism vs Individualism

    Example: Li Jiacheng ; The Li Ka Shing Foundation

    To date, the sponsorships and commitments approx.$ 990 million

    - Doctrine of the Mean in Business Competition

    Stress to moderate and response. Appeal greatly and together and save small difference, oppose competing excessively

4 neo confucianism in east asia
4. Neo-Confucianism in East Asia

  • Neo-Confucianism spread to Korea and Japan

  • In Korea and Japan, People have various religions, but regard Neo-Confucianism as the guiding ethical principle for personal, family, society, and national levels.

  • In China, there was a period of official suspension of Confucianism between 1949-1980s, which is followed by a revival of Confucianism.

Neo-Confucianism transplanted to Business

= Zaibatsu

-> Modern Keiretsu in Japan

-> Chaebols in Korea


15th Shogunate (德川庆喜) resigned his position

November 9, 1867

Boshin War

January, 1868

Edo Period




Meiji Era

Meiji Restoration (明治维新)

Meiji Restoration Reformers

were Samurai class backed up

by Neo-Confucians.


  • State Leadership: Uphold the Emperor, and Strengthen the army and Enrich the Nation (富国强兵)

  • Economic Development by the State Leader ship

  • Education: Compulsory Education

  • Open Up to World for Trade and Technology

Japanese government needed

New Class of Entrepreneurs.


Why reformed Samurai?

— Traditional warrior class was detrimental to Social Stability and Industrialization; had to be


— Still, well-Educated, noble Samurai Spirit/Patriotism may be put into use

Modern Japanese Neo-Confucian System



Noble People





Pre-WW II Zaibatsu





* Mitsubishi

- One of the Major Zaibatsu

— Established in 1870 by Iwasaki (Yotaro 岩崎 弥太郎)

— closely related to Meiji Restoration and State Leadership

— Now: Mitsubishi Bank

Mitsubishi Corporation

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

Post ww ii keiretsu
Post WW II Keiretsu

  • Horizontal Keiretsu






    Daichi Kangyo

  • Vertical Keiretsu












2 korea
2) Korea

  • Chaebol:

    -LG; Samsung; Hyundai; Daewoo; Hanhwa

    -Neo-Confucian organization and operation

    - Effective and efficient in Korean social context

3 in china
3) In China

  • This idea deviates China's focus from economic growth to overall societal balance.

  • Hu-Wen New Administration

    President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have adopt more reform-oriented and more open-minded policy.

    Premier Wen always wear a overcoat which has ten year history.

Future of neo confucianism
Future of Neo-Confucianism

  • China may unite the East Asia with the doctrine of Neo-Confucianism.

  • Hu-Wen government of China supports studies and spread of Neo-Confucianism.

5 conclusion
5. Conclusion

Not all Confucianism is conducive for Innovative Society, and Neo-Confucianism is.

The essence of Neo-Confucianism is Ethic of Humanity.

<- comparable with Protestant Ethic

Ethic of Humanity is conducive for Accumulation of Human Capital, Social Capital, and Government Leadership.