Dienstag, 9. November 2010

Jiabao! Tell us about philosophy!

Wen Jiabao (68)
Premier of People's Republic of China
A few days ago Hu Jintao was elected to be the most powerful person on the planet (Forbes). So I think it's time for having a closer look on what the Chinese government is standing for. Lately I read about Wen Jiabao who is perceived as a liberal voice in China's ruling elite, and about his favourite reading while travelling. Adam Smith - The Theory of Moral Senitments, and Marcus Aurelius - Meditations. So maybe take a look here.

Ugh! - philosophy in short

Adam Smith was kind of a guru in my university economy courses. He is known for his thoughts about the free market. Also his book An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations gave birth to macroeconomics. So he really was a genius assuming that he wrote abouth free markets and macroeconomic in a time when there was no such thing as economic science known.

Quite up-to-date were his thoughts about the inefficiency of decreasing interest rates down to zero. Anybody remembers the FED decreasing their interest rates to 0,25% and bought $600 billion of treasuries to stimulate the American economy and avert deflation? Smith would turn his grave...

In his book Meditations he assumes that people are watching each other's actions and estimate what is good or wrong by sympathy what could be translated with having a similar culture. Actions are jugded on if they are based on commonly shared rules and morals than on benefit.

Marcus Aurelius on the other hand was a 2nd century Roman emperor. It was not easy for him ruling over the country with my great-great-etc.-great grandfathers the German tribes becoming a pain in the ass for the emire. So he started focusing on what anyone should do while there is war: writing an autobiography and dealing with stoic philosphy;)

Stoics were concerned with the active relationship between cosmic determinism and human freedom, and a life in accordance with nature. They thought that the best indication of an individual's philosophy was not what a person said but how he behaved (what is similar to what Smith said). Furthermore they believed the mind to be a "tabula rasa", so that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that their knowledge comes from experience and perception.

Aurelius himself didn't really was into Christianity and he disliked laziness and pomp.

"Get rid of the judgment, get rid of the 'I am hurt,' you are rid of the hurt itself."
"Or is it your reputation that's bothering you? But look at how soon we're all forgotten."

He cherished the expression of opinon and equal rights for anybody. To my mind this is today's second most important contribution when thinking about our modern society.

**Chinas Premierminister Wen Jiabao liest auf seinen Reisen Adam Smith und Markus Aurelius. Smiths ablehnende Haltung gegen ein Zinsverbot und Aurelius' Forderung nach freier Meinungsäußerung sind wohl immer noch sehr moderne Ansätze**

1 Kommentar:

  1. Hey Sven,
    spannender Artikel...Reiselektüre verrät ja immer etwas über eine Person ;-)
    Übrigens, wenn du selbst nach China reisen möchtest, hab ich hier was für dich. Es gibt eine China-Reise zu gewinnen...schau mal auf http://www.elementsofchina.de
    Liebe Grüße!