The Economic Morality of Leadership: The Confucian Ethics That Affected Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty




Fu, Shihlin Ema

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This thesis investigates the evolution of Confucian ethics that affected Emperor Kangxi (1622-1762) ranging from 1644 to 1762, China. During the period of late Ming and Early Qing dynasties around 16th -17th CE, business activities had merged and gradually became controversial against the dynastic finance. The emperors of Ming and Early Qing were reluctant to promote merchants under a socio-economic milieu centered by Confucian concerns. Many historians of Chinese history usually criticize that such conservative mindset impeded China’s modernization and industrialization leading to wealth. They connect mathematically management to bureaucratic efficiency, therefore they blame on Confucianism for its inefficiency in administration and trapping imperial China in an “economy of Feng Jian” and recycled poverty. This thesis is aimed at arguing: 1) that bureaucratic inefficiency is not caused by Confucianism, but by ineligibility of execution on the balance among law, economics and morality; 2) the development of Confucian morality in terms of business and merchants throughout imperial China, and to examine economic ethics of Emperor Kangxi as a model to demonstrate that since Confucianism is able to make a state prosperous and its people self-content, it is a feasible and ideal economic morality of leadership.



Morality, Confucianism, Emperor Kangxi, Ethics of Leadership, Economic ethics, Qing Dynasty of China