On May 12-13, 2014, “Dialogue of Confucian Entrepreneurs 2014: Forum on Wealth and Confucian Entrepreneurs as Role Models” was successfully held at Yingjie International Relations Center at Peking University. This event was organized by the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies (IAHS) and the World Ethics Institute at Peking University. This event lasts two days. Day 1 (May 12) was the Lecture Day. Centered on the theme of “East Asian Civilization and the Role Models of Confucian Entrepreneurs,” noted scholars, entrepreneurs in related field from Japan, Germany and China were invited to give lectures. Day 2 (May 13) was the Dialogue Day, scholars and entrepreneurs of different academic background from China and abroad had intensive and pressing discussions concerning multiple dimensions on the theme “wealth and life” that covered the range from theory to practice.
The first day “Lecture Day” was hosted by Vice Director of the World Ethics Institute at Peking University Yao Xinzhong. The Director of the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies and the World Ethics Institute Tu Weiming gave welcome remarks on behalf of Peking University. He drew the outline of the opportunities and progress of Confucian Entrepreneurs’ researches and put forward a vision for the researches on Confucian Entrepreneurs to go beyond the Western Enlightenment mentality and the assumption of “economic man.” During the academic speech portion, Professor of Economics, Guanghua Management School Professor Zhang Weiying, Chairman of SHIBUSAWA Eiichi Memorial Foundation Shibusawa Masahide. President of Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) Xiang Bing, Founder and President of the Global Values Alliance Foundation Professor Leisinger Klaus, Director of Confucius Neo-Institute Chan Alan and other scholars from China and abroad, representative entrepreneurs gave keynote speeches respectively on the topics like Confucian Entrepreneurs, Confucian Entrepreneurs and East Asia, the rise of China in a global context, and how entrepreneurship is enhanced by Confucian concepts.
In professor Zhang Weiying’s keynote speech “Power of Ideas,” he pointed out that the reason should be the master of desire, rather than the slave of it and emphasized the combination of ideas and leadership. He believed the future of China’s reform will depend largely on what ideas we have. Chairman Shibusawa Masahide from Japan recalled the events one hundred years ago when Japanese Confucian Entrepreneur Shibusawa Eiichi visited China for the first time. Through the account of this visit, he explored the role of the tradition of Confucian Entrepreneurs in the modernization of East Asia. President of Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) Xiang Bing in his speech “The Rise of China in a Global Context” pointed out that in the last thirty years, China has become globalized. However, in the next thirty years, one of the possibilities of the world pattern’s change is the sinicization of the world. The rise of China will bring global diversity and positive elements to the world. And as for a representative trying to get close to Confucian Entrepreneurs, Chairman of Petroships Investment Company and Director of Confucius Neo-Institute Chan Alan summarized the quintessence of combining Confucian concepts and Entrepreneurship in his business practice as breadth, foresight and depth. Breadth is to broaden one’s mind to be more inclusive and to widen one’s view to get a good grasp of interconnected reality. Foresight is to intelligently plot the process of projects and to allow time for them to run their courses. Depth offers the entrepreneur an invigorating sense of self-development if he cultivates the Dao in depth.
The second day, “Dialogue Day,” consisted of three panels. The three-dimensionally of the topic “Wealth and Life” was discussed by nearly thirty scholars and entrepreneurs from China and abroad through their panel discussion over the topic “The Civilizational Stereotypes of Wealth: A Dialogue based on Historical Experience and Modern Life,” “Plural Conceptions of Wealth: Digging into their Philosophical Value Systems and Practical Significance,” and “Wealth, Education and Welfare.” Participants in this forum basically agreed that the idea of Confucian Entrepreneurs is a promising domain of discourse. Namely, Confucian Entrepreneurs not only represent a business tradition originating in East Asia civilization, but also are bearers of important local knowledge that possesses modern and global significance. Through a theoretical analysis of the model of Confucian Entrepreneurs in the history of East Asia with combination of knowledge gained by experience of immediate concern to contemporary entrepreneurs with Confucian temperament, we can expect that the modern transformation of the tradition of Confucian Entrepreneurs will be achieved. Thus we will rediscover and enrich resources at the mental, moral, ethical, and institutional levels. And with this we can deal with the common problems human beings are facing in the era of globalization.