Een groep van 16 UvA/VU/HvA-studenten bereidt een reis voor naar het land van de onbegrensde groeimogelijkheden: China!
Although it’s the Holiday season, normally a time of joy and happiness, we seem to have very little to celebrate this year. People all over the World are losing their jobs and houses due to a failing financial system, while politicians are putting billions and millions of dollars into exactly that same system, which seems to be doomed to collapse anyway.
A picture quite opposite to China, where it (economically) never has been so good. The Chinese economy has grown with 9,2 percent this year and will probably world’s largest economy in less than a decennium from now. Also the Chinese entrepreneurial climate is booming and Chinese companies are taking over multinationals all over the world. We could therefore wonder ourselves; what have we done wrong and the Chinese done right? In other words, what can we learn from China?
For two thousand years Confucianism, a system developed according to the socio-political teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479 BC), has been the main doctrine of China. Confucius (551 BC. – 479 BC.) Was born into a family of landowners, but because of anarchist trends within Chinese society, they lost everything. Confucius earned his living by teaching. He was so successful that after a while he got a lot of followers. After his death many of his doctrines were formalized and interpreted by his disciples, of which the most famous ‘the Analects’. Confucius brings the concept of ‘the act’ under a broader value system in which humanity is central. This involves living together harmoniously. The individual is part of a larger entity: society, which can only be healthy if the individual the right social role. But the individual can only correct our role in society when he is in harmony with itself, as therefore had to develop itself as much as possible. This can be done by what Confucius calls ‘the learning of the body and mind’. It’s about how to be able how to realize yourself. Learning is for the sake of the self not for others. It shapes your character. Learning is therefore more than just learning things or the acquisition of knowledge or skills. The type of learning Confucius speaks about the concepts of learning, re-learning and unlearning. Unlearning, for example a bad habit, can be as hard as learning and therefore requires perseverance.
How could this all be of any relevance for our own society? Our society has been dominated by the concept of ‘the economic man’ of Adam Smith. The ‘economic man’ is someone who is critical aware of his self-interest and tries to maximize his profits by all means. Due to that our society has become are very individualized society. Compassion is not part of our attitude of mind anymore, neither is civility. What we could learn from Confucius is that a responsible community is de first condition for a healthy society. It is about time that we all put moral first and money second. Not the other way around.
This blog has been based on lectures of Tu Weiming, professor of Confucianism and Entrepreneurship at the University of Zejiang.
This is why we go to China. This is why we are so excited about actually experiencing the vibe of Chinese entrepreneurs. And this is why we would like to share our journey with you.
After a very successful study trip to the United States to discover the entrepreneurial drive of the Americans, the Amsterdam Centre for Entrepreneurship and 1&12 Ventures are thrilled to announce that a new group of 16 Student Entrepreneurs has started to prepare for a study trip in 2012, this time the destination will be CHINA!
China has emerged as an economic super power, forcing all players to consider new economic models. The growing significance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in China’s economy is hard to ignore. So with the 16 of us we`ll discover what is going on in mighty China! www.the16studententrepreneurs.nl
Every week a blog of one of the 16 student entrepreneurs about the preparation of the trip. This week it’s Sophia Broos’ blog.