Henry C K Liu: The Race Toward Barbarism

Henry C K Liu is chairman of the New York-based Liu Investment Group. He writes on the Asia Times Online:
Actually, East Asian societies often exhibit behaviors and attitudes just the opposite of the supposed salient features of Confucian modernity indicate. Indeed, having been humiliated by imperialism and colonialism for decades, the rise of East Asia, on the surface at least, blatantly displays some of the most negative aspects of Western modernism with a vengeance: exploitation, mercantilism, consumerism, materialism, greed, egoism and brutal competitiveness.
Nevertheless, as the first non-Western region to become modernized, the cultural implications of the rise of “Confucian” East Asia are far-reaching. The modern West as informed by the Enlightenment mentality provided the initial impetus for worldwide social transformation. The historical reasons that prompted the modernizing process in Western Europe and North America are not necessarily structural components of modernity. Surely, Enlightenment values such as instrumental rationality, liberty, rights consciousness, due process of law, privacy and individualism are all universalizable modern values. However, as the Confucian example suggests, “Asian values” such as sympathy, distributive justice, duty-consciousness, ritual, public-spiritedness and group orientation are also universalizable modern values. Just as the former ought to be incorporated into East Asian modernity, the latter may turn out to be a critical and timely reference for the American way of life.

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3 Responses to Henry C K Liu: The Race Toward Barbarism

  1. [...] digs up what promises to be an inflammatory essay written by a certain Henry C.K. Liu (I sense quite a few [...]

  2. shane says:

    “China redefined
    How it will influence the post financial crisis world
    By Einar Tangen

    Long before President Nixon’s first trip to China, we in the West developed the habit of trying to interpret Beijing’s ideas and actions as if we were reading tea leaves.

    We looked at China and wove our own picture of its workings and motivations claiming that it is the only recourse in deciphering an opaque and “inscrutable” society. Viewing China through the looking glass of our own perceptions and values has not always been helpful, too often we have seen what we wanted to see.

    As China’s influence waxes and ours wanes we need to see China clearly. We need to understand that China is an evolving construct of ideological elements and pragmatic policies applied to an old and unique culture, not a competing political ideology or business model. Instead of reading tea leaves we need to begin a dialog with Chinese political, business and social thinkers about the China Construct in the post crisis world”

    http://www.biztimes.com/news/2009/6/12/china-redefined

  3. Enya says:

    Thank you for this article. I really understand your spirit and I’m very sad for the kind of “modern ways” some eastern countries are choosing.