Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context.
29 March 2013
AN INJUNCTION: VERSION ONE
Do others for they would do you.
One of the key principles of capitalism as taught in economics faculties and business schools throughout the world, this precept represents the basic modus operandi of free trade, competition between individuals and businesses, and the market economy. “Do” here means “swindle”.
AN INJUNCTION: VERSION TWO
Ironically, the wording of the axiom above differs only slightly from an ethical precept with precisely the opposite meaning that is commonly found in religions and belief systems throughout the world.
Consider, for instance, the following passage:
….all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
From Jesus Christ’s Sermon on the Mount in The Gospel according to St Matthew, Chaper 7, Verse 12. Authorized King James Version of 1611 AD.
Or take this one, with a similar message, from the ancient orient:
子貢問曰「有一言而可以終身行之者乎」子曰「其恕乎 己所不欲 勿施於人。」
[Zi Gong asked: “Is there one word which can serve as a guide of conduct throughout one’s life?” The Master replied: “Is not reciprocity such a word? What you yourself do not want, do not inflict on others.”]
From The Analects of Confucius, Book 15, Section 24.
Confucius (孔子 Kongzi or 孔夫子 Kong Fuzi), referred to in the text as the Master, was an early Chinese ethical philosopher and peripatetic political adviser, who is said to have lived from 551 to 479 BC. The work often translated into English under the quaint title of The Analects ( 論語 in Chinese) is a collection of laconic sayings attributed to Confucius that is thought to have been compiled by his followers some time after his death. The Zi Gong mentioned in the text was a disciple of Confucius.
To which of these two versions of the above injunction should the good citizen subscribe today, the version pumped out by the business schools or that commended for millennia by theologians and philosophers?
It’s hardly rocket science.
A no-brainer, really.
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)
3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
4. Capitalism in practice (4 July 2012)
5.Ladder (21 June 2012)
6. A tale of two cities (1) (6 June 2012)
7. A tale of two cities (2) (7 June 2012)
8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.