Short Answer [Essay] on Confucianism

Paul Fischer
May 9, 2006
Short Answer on Confucianism
In 550 BC, China had ancient traditions that dictated a citizen’s whole curriculum in life. By 600 BC a philosopher named Confucius had numerous philosophies and principles that were spreading across the Middle Kingdom. His philosophies affect domestic Chinese life, often simple ways of increased efficiency and occasionally a revolutionary idea that changed the way Chinese administration worked: division of labor. Confucianism is now one of the most important and popular philosophies because of the practical and intelligent approach with which Confucianism resolves many contemporary imperfections of ancient Chinese traditions and laws. Thus Confucius was extremely influential in creating the setting prior to China’s golden age during Rome’s dominance in Europe and the Middle East. During this time period China was much cleaner, technologically advanced, and developed than its European counter parts.
Confucianism is directly responsible for this flowering of economy and wealth because of the enlightened economic ideals that Confucius recognized and dictated to his scribes. These doctrines were then employed (and still are employed) for centuries following Confucius’s death. Unfortunately, economic power and superiority does not equal military power. Subsequent to the uniform adoption of Confucianism, China began a golden age that encouraged vast trade routes (notably the Silk Trading Road) with many ancient civilizations including Rome. During this period China’s economy, population, and military might multiplied. By 100 AD China was among Rome’s most influential trading partners and possessed one of the largest and most productive populations in the world. Because of China’s incredible expansion, one of the great wonders of the world was constructed: The Great Wall. Unfortunately for over a million peasants in northern China who perished constructing the Great Wall, the Emperor didn’t adopt the Confucius principles of humanity to laborers during the wall’s construction. Despite this failure of administration, the building of the Great Wall would never have been possible without the fluid unity of government and administration that Confucianism offered China.
A key reason for the feasibility of the Great Wall is China’s development of professional and specialized labor that allowed architects, brick makers, and thousands of other jobs that are necessary in the construction of a wonder such as the Great Wall. The professional artisan sector is where Confucius made his most important changes by streamlining the job market and realizing the importance of a national and eventually global market. According to ancient Chinese laws children would assume a profession according to their stature in being or their father’s profession. Confucius encouraged respect in a learning environment where pupils would study the profession that best suited their own exceptional skills. This resulted in a more competitive job market and allowed for more productive citizens. The development of these productive citizens would be impossible without the crucial portion of information whose absence had strangled the artisans’ development: that someone else is always willing to purchase a good. The same concept that spurred eBay’s fantastic growth originated with Confucius when he encouraged the dynamic trade roads and exchange of goods through the administrative government. The division of labor that Adam Smith mentions in the “Wealth of Nations” was pioneered in China by Confucius.

The Effect of the Lack of Leadership in Africa and Africa’s Consequential Loss of Material Goods

Paul Fischer
January 26, 2006
The Effect of the Lack of Leadership in Africa and Africa’s Consequential Loss of Material Goods
              If over 823,000,000 Africans possess diamonds, gold, trees, oil, rich farmland, and huge potential sources of hydro electric energy, what stops the nearly one billion citizens from utilizing their vast resources?  The answer is that no African nation has the strong leadership necessary to properly unite and utilize these resources because of their tribal warfare and sharp cultural differences. The effects of leadership deficit in Africa create war torn nations like Congo, and broken stagnant economies such as the one in Sierra Leone. By comparison, South Africa who has made intelligent decisions and created a highly developed economy that generates tons of exported goods such as diamonds and other precious metals that we enjoy every day. Because of nations such as Congo and Sierra Leone the Americans spend tens of billions of dollars every year in policing and aid. On the other side of the spectrum, America imports over five billion dollars of South African goods. Both the loss of potential trade in undeveloped nations and the cost of aid and policing cost large amounts of money from foreign nations including the United States. These costs are produced by the bungling of African presidents and dictators who are unfit to rule.
              Why does a nation with some of the richest resources in the world be capable of harbor some of the poorest people in the world? Congo is a prime example of a scenario that is taking place all over Africa. There was a five year civil war that occurred because of leaders’ refusal to recognize the need for long term goals to be met. Mobutu, a military president headed the sole government party in the seventies and lasted, despite dozens of attempted coups, until 1991. He was overthrown following his inability to pay back loans to Belgium in 1989. This caused development programs to be canceled and further increased the deterioration of the Congo economy. Real elections were impossible to hold because of wide-spread feuding and Motubu’s insistence on keeping the reigns of power in his heavy hands. The civil war destroyed Congo and is a direct result of Congo’s faction’s inability to unite and work together without the Belgian companies keeping peace.
              Nations that can unite and work together in Africa also have trouble too, as the small African nation Sierra Leone shows. Sierra Leone gained independence from Belgium in 1958 and has faced severe government problems ever since. Milton Margai was Sierra Leone’s first president in history. He was seen as a president who could bring great change and even the huge social differences that plagued the country and culminated in class wars. Unfortunately he died before he could make any large differences. Thus his brother, Sir Albert Margai became president in 1964. Albert would prove to be considered Sierra’s worst president. His dictatorial policies are mirrored all over Africa by other dictators. In addition to inaction in reference to class wars Albert also privatized all foreign companies in the country and handed them over to his beer buddies. The immediate effect of this action was extreme corruption and discontent throughout the nation. Below the surface however, one can see that though Margai was overthrown, his friends still held the companies of Sierra Leone, most of which were diamond companies. The nation now relies solely on the diamond production to keep its economy afloat. Unfortunately this is an unsustainable source of income and it creates an elite few who live in palaces while thousands of peasants rely completely on international aid tickets every year. This constitutes a complete failure of the government to utilize the diamonds to develop a sustainable economy. Countries with a similar situation cost Americans huge amounts of money every year in aid.
              There is hope for both Congo and Sierra Leone though; South Africa faced the same troubles that they did following their independence. Following the nine year civil war in which blacks restored their rights. Influential leaders in South Africa have negotiated trade deals that resulted in the effective development of important resources and agricultural zones. Nelson Mandela won a US congressional medal in 1998 for his efforts in the country. He brought about fully democratic elections and developed millions of homes and running water for the poor black majority. Without Mandela the civil war might have lasted much longer and South Africa may have shared Congo’s or Sierra Leone’s fate.
              Africa has less material goods because the people cannot even pretend to unite under one ruling party without the ruling party taking harsh actions to quell resistors. The only way to provide a stable and helpful economy for Africans without massive outbreaks of violence is for America to become more active in its aid programs. By directing money, food, and, yes, America should even control the gun market … even if that means allying with the shady figures that started the African dilemma, America can make sure that tyrants stay out of power and intelligent leaders are supported. Building powerful independent unions that sympathize with America out of the quarreling indigenous tribes will be critical. Such action would be decisive in keeping both freedom and the millions of men, women, and children that perish from being in a violent country that is too hungry to help itself safe.

“Africa.”  The New Book of Knowledge. Scholastic Library Publishing, 2006 (February 7, 2006).
“Mobutu Sese Seko.”  The New Book of Knowledge. Scholastic Library Publishing, 2006 (February 7, 2006).
“Congo, the Republic of.”  The New Book of Knowledge. Scholastic Library Publishing, 2006 (February 7, 2006).
Best, Alan C. G. and Doro, Marion E., “South Africa.” Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Scholastic Library Publishing,  2006 (February 7, 2006).

Judaism and Ethical Monotheism

Paul Fischer
              Judaism started nearly 3500 years ago with Abraham becoming the first prophet for the religion Judaism. Abraham is considered the father of the Ethical Monotheistic format that would be the foundation for the religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Hebrews believed that their god was omni present and that he gave the Ten Commandments to Moses over two and a half thousand years ago after he led them to freedom form the Egyptians who were enslaving the Hebrews. These laws, which are present in every Ethical Monotheism, must be abided by believers of such religions. The Jews claimed that their god was omnipotent and was the single god. This infuriated several priests in polytheistic religions. These religions were very powerful until the collapse of the Roman Empire. Jesuit faith took another blow following the Diaspora of Jews in the Roman Empire. This spread Judaism all over the continent of Europe and the chosen people had lost their homeland to another Ethical Monotheism: Christianity. Christians gained popularity after various disciples became martyrs led by Jesus Christ. This upheaval occurred from zero BC until approximately 135 AD when Christianity got a colossal boost from Emperor Constantine’s conversion. Christians were driven to Italy by the Islamic Jihads in the eight hundreds. Islam is the third great Ethical Monotheism with over eight hundred million believers world wide. The three religions all share numerous characteristics that have helped to construct them into dominant religions. All of the religions have rules that people can obey to be faithful believers … regardless of where they came from or what race they are. They also share a vicious need to wipe out other religions that are less powerful.
              The main importance of Ethical Monotheism is its presence as the largest religions on Earth. Christianity actually uses many of the same books and shares the Ten Commandments with their counterparts – the Jews.  Islam is less related to Judaism and Christianity but they do use the “five pillars” and they claim to be descendents of Abraham. The religions in which Ethical Monotheism is present are some of the supreme religions on earth because of its appeal to people universally. Unlike religious principles that came prior to the Ethical Monotheism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam accept converts from everywhere on earth. The polytheistic religions that dominated the ancient world believed that their god cared only for their patron city or nation. Even skilled non-Romans would  to work for years before they could become full Romans. By the times the Romans were lenient; many other religions (such as Greece) made it impossible to convert to their religion. When Ethical Monotheism’s God welcomed the masses and provide simple procedures for conversion, ancient religions were blown away by the emerging religions. The reason for the Diaspora was a last ditch effort by the Romans to survive the emergence and success of Judaism and their ruthless politicians. This is why the Christian religion became successful; the Christians took advantage of the lack of Jews to control the Roman Empire. Their greatest success in this undertaking before the Romans collapse was the conversion of Emperor Constantine in AD c306. Thus Christians would become one of the most powerful organized religions in the world.
              The Christians are a prime example of the Ethical Monotheism. Today Christians are among the greatest religions on earth and because of this Christianity has control of the strongest nations on earth. Christians have used subversive tactics to eliminate other religions (including Judaism: Christians helped to drive them out of Rome by 300 AD); inquisitions in which people were forced to join the church or citizens would be tortured, and wars such as the crusades in which the pope attempted to convert millions of Islamic “heretics” in the throughout the middle ages. The Jews, Islamic and Christians all shared a drive to eliminate all other religions. It is this paranoia that brought Ethical Monotheism to the top of the religious hierarchy. It will also doom the religions to forever quibble in an endless cycle as each religion attempts to gain the upper hand.

What Does It Mean To Be Human?

Paul Fischer
May 23, 2006
What Does It Mean To Be Human?
              To be human is to work for the betterment of oneself and the rest of mankind. Most countries through out the world humans are being denied of their basic rights because of religion, social standing, and race. There are times when it seems wise to rulers to deny people rights, or benefits and this sort of legalization only lasts as long as the exceptional tyrant who was capable of keeping iron rule over his populace. In India, first the princes believed in their divine right to rule, then the British Empire imposed authoritarian rule upon the native Indians while plundering India’s natural resources to support the empire. After Gandhi drove the British out of India, India splintered into a Muslim and a Hindu nation. Since then both nations have progressed well in creating a happier lifestyle for all of the citizens, and in return Indian and Pakistani global relations have never been better than now. When ethics guide a nation, then they may assuredly say that the populace will act humanely.
              The most important figure in the development of the modern Indian nation is Mohandas K. Gandhi. In the nineteen twenties through the fifties this charismatic Hindu helped civil rights causes against the British Empire in South Africa and India. The British Empire attempted to segregate the minority white ruling class from the massive Hindu and Muslim populace. Gandhi understood that Indians were people in the same way as a British born man and that the two races should be treated equally. Gandhi’s first intercourse with the British authorities was in South Africa where all Indians or dark colored people must carry identification cards through at all times or they could be detained indefinitely. Because the British ruled with a totalitarian fist, the dark skinned citizens couldn’t do anything about this oppression. When Gandhi came to South Africa, there were many rebels who wished to start a violent revolution that would purge the entire nation of their pale counterparts. Gandhi was not in favor of killing the oppressors but rater Gandhi was interested in peacefully reaching a deal. Using civil disobedience, Gandhi burned the identification and though he was beaten, remained steadfast in his determination to peacefully coexist with Britain. In India, Gandhi fought instead for independence and through the two world wars and four decades that he was there, Gandhi continued to civilly disobey the British Empire, even punishing the Hindus by starving himself when the Hindus violently revolted.
              Following India’s independence, there were two factions: the Hindus led by Gandhi and the Muslim league led by Nehru. These sides were not against each other, indeed, it was Gandhi’s decision to allow Nehru to be the first prime minister in a desperate attempt to keep the nation unified. Why Gandhi showed what many Hindus considered over patriotism and didn’t give the position to a Hindu with more populace support is because of his distaste for the caste system in India that he believed was the very thing he had fought to remove. The caste system is one of the most restrictive systems in the world for segregating people because of their class or social standing. Under the caste system there are four main castes, untouchables (basically servile slaves for the upper castes), and thousands of smaller castes nationally. These castes may not even eat together and it is impossible to move from one class to another. In addition to these obvious cultural divides there are also a huge number of talented people who are repressed from working in jobs to which they may be best suited. Today, the Indian government has begun to outlaw practicing the caste and India’s economy and culture is flowering in a way comparable to east Europe following the downfall of the wall.
              The two factions of Hindus and Muslims were not in harmony either. Often following the independence, Indians would fight in religious homicides and massacres that occurred in major cities of India. Hindus believed that because Muslims did not worship their god, the Muslims were not fit to live. This forced the splintering of India into Pakistan and India. Even now, Palestinians bomb Jews because they don’t follow the same religion. Religious differences tend to be even worse than class wars or xenophobia because religions often believe that the only way to cleanse a nation of its nonbelievers is to kill them all.
The Indian government now allows many more rights to the various castes (or at least heading in that direction). Unfortunately, Muslims continue to be actively prosecuted and India remains divided. Despite the large difference between the impoverished and the rich in India, there is a growing middle class. In ancient times people were denied their civil rights because of three reasons: race, social standing, and religion (it should not be forgotten that women were also denied their basic rights). India was once a symbol of oppression by the British Empire and great poverty despite India’s vast natural resources. Today, with the opening of the global market and the return of civil liberties to all factions of India the economy flourishes. As Gandhi fervently believed, good will triumph over the malicious forces of evil although never without great losses and defeats.

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