Confucian Principles of Governance: Paternalistic Order and Relational Obligations Without Legal Rules

17 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2012

See all articles by Alex Chu Kwong Chan

Alex Chu Kwong Chan

Gratia College

Angus Young

Department of Accountancy & Law, Hong Kong Baptist University; German-Sino Institute of Legal Studies, Nanjing Univeristy; School of Law, Western Sydney University

Date Written: January 17, 2012

Abstract

Tung Chung-Shu (179-104B.C.) synthesized the works of Confucius and Mencius to come up with a blueprint for the creation of civil society based on hierarchical order and moral cultivation, known as ‘San Gang Wu Chang’. ‘San Gang’ refers to the obligations attached to three key relationships in any given society, they are those between the king and his subjects; father and son; husband and wife. It is essentially social stratification with the focus on paternalism. ‘Wu Chang’ speaks of the five virtues: benevolence (Ren), righteousness (Yi), propriety (Li), wisdom (Zhi), and trust (Xin). These five moral benchmarks are the underpinnings of human intercourse and relational obligations. Therefore, the application of this Confucian order in the context of corporate governance suggests an emphasis on the establishment of paternalistic order and the fulfillment of one’s relational obligations towards others in the company, the goal is to create a harmonious environment.

Keywords: governance, paternalistic order, relational obligations, ethics, Confucius

JEL Classification: B31, H89, K29, M19, L29

Suggested Citation

Chan, Alex Chu Kwong and Young, Angus, Confucian Principles of Governance: Paternalistic Order and Relational Obligations Without Legal Rules (January 17, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1986716 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1986716

Alex Chu Kwong Chan

Gratia College ( email )

5 Wai Chi St
Shek Kip Mei
Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Angus Young (Contact Author)

Department of Accountancy & Law, Hong Kong Baptist University ( email )

Kowloon
Hong Kong

German-Sino Institute of Legal Studies, Nanjing Univeristy ( email )

22 Hankou Road
Nanjing, Jiangsu 210093
China

School of Law, Western Sydney University ( email )

Parramatta
Australia

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