New Book: Ethics in Public Life in Asia

Kenneth Winston of Harvard’s Kennedy School writes:

I am pleased to announce the publication of my book “Ethics in Public Life:  Good Practitioners in a Rising Asia” from Palgrave Macmillan.  The book is a set of five case studies of practitioners in different Asian countries making life-defining decisions in their work.  They include a doctor in Singapore, a political activist in India, a mid-level bureaucrat in central Asia, a religious missionary in China, and a journalist in Cambodia—each struggling with ethical challenges that shed light on what it takes to act effectively and well in public life.

Each case study illustrates, to some degree, the struggle of developing countries to make the transition into what we call the modern world.  The struggle is not only economic and political;  it is moral.  Simply put, it is a struggle to preserve what one believes to be of value in one’s own culture or tradition while adapting to new circumstances and participating in new relationships.  Thus, each case involves a hybrid of traditional beliefs and transplanted values, displaying the ongoing syncretism that makes Asian countries fascinating laboratories of political and ethical development.

The book is not a work in ethical theory, but as part of the case studies, I discuss Confucianism, virtue ethics, and related topics that could be of interest to readers of this blog.  Most importantly, the publisher has provided me with a flyer that offers a brief description of the book, as well as the table of contents—and an offer of a discount on the price!  If you are interested, I would be happy to send you the flyer.  You can e-mail me at

All the best,

Kenneth Winston

Lecturer in Ethics
Faculty Chair, Singapore Program
Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
Harvard Kennedy School

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