Confucius, Autonomy, and Capitalism
14 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 26, 2017
Book review and critique of "Against Individualism" by Henry Rosemont Jr. (Lexington Books, 2015). In the book, Rosemont criticizes Western "foundational individualism" and the Western moral theories and capitalist economic system it supports. He proposes that the West instead adopt the Confucian notion that morality centers on the fulfillment of one's social roles, and that the West reorganize its political and economic systems around this notion, including adoption of a healthy "social justice" programme. However, the review points out that there are ontological and empirical problems with Rosemont's critique, and that his Confucian alternative both seems to support some morally troubling outcomes and doesn't provide the clear political and economic programme Rosemont desires. Though foundational individualism can be criticized for not having a clear "social justice" component, it seems more likely that component can be developed, than that Rosemont's Confucianism can yield the happier and more just world Rosemont assumes.
Keywords: Confucianism, Social Justice, Capitalism, Libertarianism, Individualism
JEL Classification: Y3, I31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation