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Title: A Political-Economic Comparative Analysis between the Fable of the Bees and Chi-mi
Authors: Teng, Jimmy
Contributors: 彰化師範大學文學院
Keywords: Mercantilism;Liberalism;Classical economics;Statecraft;Legalism;Extravagance;Luxury
Date: 2013-09
Issue Date: 2015-06-15T09:28:23Z
Publisher: 彰化師範大學文學院
Abstract: The Fable of the Bees argues that private vices like human wants, vanity and extravagant consumption bring forth public benefits like charity, division of labor, hard work, innovation, social progress and prosperity. The chapter of Chi-mi in Guan Zi advocates extravagant consumption by the rich and powerful to stimulate economic prosperity and employment especially in times of natural disaster and economic downturn. The Fable of the Bees and Chi-mi share many similarities in their economic reasoning. However, their fates, political backgrounds and objectives are quite different. The Fable of the Bees was written in England a few decades after the Glorious Revolution. It opposes putting religious and moral restraints on consumption. It acknowledges the following preconditions for turning private vices into public benefits: security of private property, political equality, the rule of law and freedom of thoughts. These preconditions were largely satisfied in post Glorious Revolution England. The
triumph of parliamentary supremacy resolved major political conflicts between the landed aristocracy and the middle class. Furthermore, great power rivalry among European states prompted many intellectual enquiries into state powers and the nature of wealth. Consequently, The Fable of the Bees inspired classical economics. Chi-mi is a statecraft, its main concern is the centralization of power. It advocates extravagance as a means to strengthen the control of the sovereign over powerful lords, officials and aristocrats to reduce their wealth and power thus avoid their challenges to the political center. Despite the calls for consumption, Chi-mi places the status of agriculture over that of commerce and industry. Chi-mi was written during the formation period of the traditional centralized imperial state of China. China maintained such political ideology for the next two millennium where internal political control and stability were the main concern of the empire. Therefore, mind control regime (including the Confucian orthodoxy) was firmly established while commerce and industry were suppressed. Furthermore, the lack of a competitive external environment means that there was no motive to inquire into the state power and the nature of wealth. Consequently, Chi-mi became virtually obsolete.
《蜜蜂的寓言》認為欲望,虛榮和奢侈的消費等私人的惡習帶來慈善事業,專業分工,辛勤的工作、創新、社會的進步和經濟繁榮等公共的利益。《管子》的《侈糜》主張讓富商與權貴奢侈消費來刺激經濟的繁榮和就業,特別是在自然災害和經濟不景的時候。《蜜蜂的寓言》和《侈糜》的經濟推理有很多相似之處。 然而,他們的命運和政治背景和目標卻大不相同。
Relation: 彰化師範大學文學院學報, 8: 99-110
Appears in Collections:[文學院學報] 第八期

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