Asian Philosophy 9 (1):71 – 79 (1999)
|Abstract||It is commonly supposed that people of Asia, particularly the ethnic Chinese, subscribe to values which are not conducive to economic progress. The gap between the capitalist West and Asia is often attributed to the 'cultural' factor. Behind such perception is the supposition that capitalism is wholly a product of the West, alien to Asia and cannot be successfully embraced without doing violence to its cultural traditions. Against this position, I argue that classical capitalism is perfectly compatible with the key elements of Chinese philosophy. Whether or not there is anything in the suggestion of some historians that Quesnay borrowed from Confucianism, I argue that his economic doctrine could have developed from the fundamentals of Chinese philosophy. If I am right, the economic gap between the West and Asia has to be explained in terms other than the 'cultural' factor, such as, perhaps, colonialism and post-colonialist ideologies.|
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