Call for Ideas on Confucian Business Ethics

We are exploring about the feasibility of a large project on Confucian Applied Ethics, which includes a section of Confucian Business Ethics. What we would like to have is the Confucian perspective on some standard issues of business ethics, such as justification (or the lack thereof) market economy, justice of economic (re)distribution, corporate agency, employee rights, consumer rights, whistle-blowing, advertisement, business and environment, international business…. However, we are not experts in business ethics (to say nothing of Confucian business ethics), and while our knowledge of the field is limited, we have found that very little is done in Confucian Business Ethics. So we would like to send this public call for ideas before we decide whether to pursue this project. We will greatly appreciate it if those of you who have done work in this area either in your teaching or research let us know whether you think this is a feasible project, and if so, what kind of contribution you (or persons you know of) can and are willing to make (for example on which particular topic you think you are able and willing to write an original essay).

Please direct your response to:
Ruiping Fan, City University of Hong Kong at:


Yong Huang, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania at:

5 replies on “Call for Ideas on Confucian Business Ethics”

  1. “Austro-Libertarian Themes in Early Confucianism” is the best article I’ve read about applying Confucianism to a modern economy.

    I would recommend starting with Mencius, because it is full of economic insights, including justification for voluntary exchange of goods, as well as refuting a labour theory of value.

    Many papers talk about Confucian capitalism. But very few actually cite the Classics to justify being a Confucian entrepreneur.

    I recommend that one base one’s arguments on the Classics. This way, the paper can actually have persuasive power in the Confucian community at large.

    By and large, I believe that if you focus on Mencius, you will find most of what you need. The rest can be found in Liji.

  2. Thanks for your idea. Definitely the Mencius will be one of the main sources of Confucian ideas of business ethics, although we will certainly also take look at other Confucian and neo-Confucian texts for ideas relevant to contemporary issues of business ethics.

  3. I would be interested in collaborating on this project.

    Brief background: I’m a law student studying in Vancouver, with a background in linguistics. I am working with several Confucian organizations on reviving Confucianism as a religious faith. My current projects include translating a Q&A which will be presented this summer at a Confucian conference.

  4. Alan Strudler (upenn) and Daryl Koehn (u of st. Thomas) are business ethics scholars who are working on some Confucian theme. You can also consult the society for business ethics and it’s journal business ethics quarterly.

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