Confucian versus Western Ethics


Issue (s) Confucian Concept / Thoughts Western Concept / Thoughts
Ethics Spirituality, living with and in the Tao; one becomes a person because of   others; where one is never a person independently or in and of oneself but   develops into one only community


Utilitarianism; one that maximizes utility,   specifically defined as maximizing happiness and reducing suffering
Social Obligation Everyone is part of the One Whole World; there is   a familial or collective value and pull


Individualism and the rights of the individuals   are upheld as paramount
Governance Govern with wisdom and talent, keep it with   benevolence and at the same time govern the multitude with conscience and   rituals Based on individual rights with democracy that   is, the right of the people to elect and select their public officials or   leaders. Upon election, the leaders and his or her people decide on the   governance


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) CSR in Confucianism stresses on the compelling   and natural need to return or give back to the community; thus, CSR is a   natural function and part of the process or loop when doing business CSR in the Western concept entails quality,   benchmarking and its measurements to ensure standards and results. In the   West, because of the primary need to protect individual rights, the emphasis   on transparency also floats out and it becomes part of the CSR process


People (Labour) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) The element of humanism is strong in   Confucianism, and by virtue of the Heavenly Mandate, the leaders area   accountable to the people; and if the leaders are not responsible, then the   people have the rights to remove the leaders Human and individual rights are stressed, and   hence workers’ rights are part and parcel of the human rights spectrum


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