What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Confucianism to govern a country?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The great gift of Confucianism is that it brings order to running a country. Every person has a certain predetermined place in society, and everyone understands his or her role and the rules governing it.

One's place is defined by the Five Relationships: Ruler to subject, husband to wife, father to son, elder brother to younger brother, and friend to friend. Except for friend relationships, which are based on mutual respect, the subordinate partner in the relationship is expected to treat the superior with reverence, while the dominant partner's role is to protect and show kindness towards the subordinate.

There are rituals surrounding how people deal with each other, which lessens the potential for tensions and disagreements. This leads to a high degree of social harmony.

On the other hand, the emphasis on ritual, harmony, and strictly regulated relationships could result in an over-emphasis on conformity. This is in turn could lead to social stagnation. Individual talents and initiative could be thwarted by too much emphasis on fulfilling a predetermined role. Harmony is important but some would argue that a degree of creative chaos is also necessary to fuel change and growth.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial