China and Confucianism Society Essay

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Equal Society, Kim and Kim talk about the basis of Confucian values, ethics, and society and suggest that the world would benefit from adopting more Confucian worldview. The book is divided into five main chapters plus a "bonus chapter," which is more like an appendix in that it provides some of the key points about Confucianism in general for readers who are unfamiliar with the basics. For example the "bonus chapter" talks about the three main elements of Confucianism, which are Confucianism as a religion, Confucianism as a philosophy, and Confucianism as legalism.

The first chapter of the book focuses on the philosophy of Confucianism and how it might be applied outside of Asia to the Western world and especially to the United States. For example, the authors talk about President Johnson's concept of a "Great Society," as well as the Civil Rights Act to show that these are essentially based on Confucian ideals. The authors even point out the connections between Johnson's "Great Society" and the concept of "datong," which is the "Great Equal Society" that gives the book its title.

The second chapter focuses on Confucianism and government, discussing issues like the failure of democracy to create an ideal society and also discussing the case study of Singapore, which fuses some of the elements of Western democracy with Confucianism. The third chapter applies Confucianism to the economy and especially talks about how ethics can be fused with a market economy, which is what the authors claim is what China needs to do and can do. Chapter Four talks about the importance of education in a Confucian society, and Chapter Five is where the authors relay their main argument about how China can become a world leader if they can refine the "China model" to one that is applicable throughout the world.

Critique

The Great Equal Society offers some interesting viewpoints that are especially important to read from a Western perspective.
These views can easily be applied to corporate ethics as well as political ethics. It is uncertain whether it is possible to actually apply the principles of The Great Equal Society to political action, foreign and domestic policy, or business activity. Much of what the authors discuss in The Great Equal Society makes sense. After all, they offer detailed case studies and discuss their principles by backing them up with facts. One of the great achievements of this book is how the authors are able to show readers that the Western values of democracy are not actually that far off from Confucian values. There are indeed many misconceptions about Asian societies in the West, and the authors do a good job trying to dispel some myths. Another way this book is helpful is by showing that it is not necessarily a big government that is the solution. Confucian values can become embedded in business, and given the importance of good leadership and corporate social responsibility, having good governance in the business world is as important if not even more important than good government in the traditional political sense.

Some readers might find that the authors are almost too laudatory about Confucianism and the potential of China to be a world leader, but it is important to remember that the failures of Confucianism are frankly discussed in the "bonus chapter," and also that it helps to reframe global ethics, politics, and economics so that Western models are no longer hegemonic but simply one way of looking at things. The Confucian model offers an alternative way of looking at political, economic, and social realities. Given the genuine failure of the United States to offer any new meaningful direction for the world, especially with regards to global peace and income parity,….....

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Works Cited

Kim, Young-Oak and Kim, Jung-Kyu. The Great Equal Society. Danvers, MA: World Scientific Publishing, 2014.

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