How Has Confucianism Influenced Modern Economic Development In East Asia

1843 words - 8 pages

How has Confucianism influenced modern economic development in East Asia?

The rise of Asia’s so called “Tiger” economies followed by China, has given rise to the spectrum of a distinctly East Asian economic development model. The pioneering economic success of in particular, Singapore, South Korea and Japan since the 1970’s has highlighted the need to evaluate and distinguish how such economies achieved such successive growth. A variety of possible factors can explain or highlight possibilities for the successive development of East Asia. A particularly unique factor that has to be taken into account is Confucianism. The interplay between culture and development can help explain how in ...view middle of the document...

These basic convictions are reiterated by (Rozman, 2002) who wrote that Confucianism can be summarized as a “cross between religion, a way of life, a system if belief about society, and a state ideology”. (Rozman, 2002) Argues that Confucianism focuses on filial piety, that is, respecting and adhering ones elders, the maintenance of authority through social order and the maintenance hierarchy for the purpose of perfecting social harmony. Confucianism rose and blossomed during the eleventh and twelfth centuries as Zhu Xi, a Song Dynasty Confucian scholar, revitalized the philosophy by providing a new synthesis that now predominates modern attitudes to Confucianism (Tucker, 2010). Zhu Xi’s neo-Confucianism develops the notion that the natural world and human society exist in unity and are governed by the same moral principles and thus existing traditional social norms and institutions are seen as part of the natural order of the world (Hane, 1969). The orthodox nature of Confucianism, both new and old, evidently advocates to the maintenance and continuation of filial piety and of traditional ceremonies and practices, which contradicts the transformation of East Asia both culturally and economically.

The continual growth of East Asia, in particular that of China, in recent times in comparison to the rest of the world highlights a necessity to identify how Confucianism has influenced the economic models within the region. (Goldin, 2010) Argues that Confucianism has influenced East Asia’s economic development because of its strong ties to hierarchical structures and the belief that loyalty and effort will be rewarded from the top-down. Japanese workplace culture in particular adheres to these doctrines, as prominent feature of Japanese workplace culture is lifetime employment and managerial aims for harmony and consensus within the workplace (Goldin, 2010). Confucianism’s respect for the governing body and the pacifist nature of Confucianism can be seen to have helped the continuation of economic and political stability within East Asia, which has allowed for the bureaucracies to focus on economic development rather than social order and stability (Ikeo, 1997, p. 174). Confucianism’s influence on the growth of East Asia economic development can be observed from both a macro-level and a micro-level. On a micro-level the emphasis on education, diligence in the workplace and frugality in life are seen as characteristics borrowed from Confucianism, which have had a positive impact on economic development (Ikeo, 1997, p. 174). Confucianism’s influence on a macro-level in East Asia’s economic growth is evident argues (Frederickson, 2002) in that, the bureaucracies can carry out economic reform without major objection from both the factions of the private and public sector due to the benefaction to a hierarchical society. The growth of East Asia’s economic development is evidently influenced by the ideas of Confucius in particular in relation to ideas...

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