Pierre Elliott Trudeau: La balance céleste de la Justice
D. Carlton Rossi
Sun Dawu: Justice and Fairness
Justice is often represented by a pair of scales. The origin of this image may involve the Judgement of Osiris. This was where the soul's heart was placed on a scale and the feather of truth on the other scale. If the heart of the soul was lighter than the feather then the soul could pass on to the bliss of the Field of Reeds.
It so happens that Sun Dawu also uses an image of a pair of balanced scales (although they are not heavenly) along with an abstract symbol resembling a person composed of an inner and outer triangle. The following description is augmented with interpretation. On the right is an image of a set of scales composed of black triangles of the same size which are theoretically balanced. They may represent ideal justice in society. On the left is what might be an abstract body and/or head representing man as a down-to-earth, social being. Within the human being and/or head is a large black triangle with a smaller white triangle inside. The former might represent justice while the latter may represent attitude.
Sun Dawu is a self-educated farmer and a self-taught entrepreneur. Surprisingly, though, he was the first person in China to develop the Private Entrepreneurial Constitutional System in 2004. This constitution was based on models in France, Great Britain and the United States along with historical Chinese ones. At Dawu Group there are elections every two years and every one must vote.
John Stuart Mill
Fifty years ago, the author was enrolled in Philosophy 101. His lecturer at the U of T was Derek Allen who had been trained at Oxford. The author submitted an essay on John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism. Allen corrected that essay with lengthy definition of terms like "everyone" [an indefinite pronoun equivalent to "everybody" and "every one" [two words meaning "each". With respect to the word "everyone" it exhibits an exception with regard to verb tense in the third person singular. Of course, the young, foolish student regarded this criticism as somewhat pedantic, but he now appreciates its exactitude. Derek Allen is now Professor Emeritus.
Basically, Mill expressed the view of utilitarianism or the greatest good for the greatest number. Generally, it applied to "everyone" rather than "every one". However, since that time critics have emphasized Mill's self-restraint principle which allows individuals to experience truth as "our own". In other words, there is a balance between quantity and quality or the objective and subjective.
The balance between justice and fairness is achieved in both the philosophy and poetry of Sun Dawu which is practically applied at Dawu Group in Dawu City. The author quotes three paragraphs of a paper just published in February 2019. These lines which have been translated from the Chinese encapsulate his philosophical views.
The Dawu Group regards justice as a serious issue. What we say is the difference in common prosperity is justice. What we reward is justice through more work. But we still have to be fair; that is, "to guarantee a limit". The welfare of the group is equal and this is fair.
Because of justice, everyone is motivated; because of fairness, every one has unity, and only if they have a direction of justice do they have common values. In order to achieve the goal of common prosperity, we must develop this enterprise on the basis of justice. Everyone is a group, [every one] should [each] try [his/her] best to get rewards and enjoy the benefits. This is fairness.
Justice (reason) is one, and fairness (attitude) is two. We must first find one, occupy the "reason", and then ask for two, and seek fairness. The Chinese have a good face and are very concerned about their attitude and forget what the origin is, so they are often passive. As long as you take advantage of it, other factors that are unreasoanble or unfavourable to you will be transformed.
The message conveyed by Sun Dawu is that the basis of justice is reason. Fairness is derived from justice and is reflected in attitude. Both should be equal or in balance which means harmony is achieved. In Dawu Group, justice for everyone is based on reason. From justice of everyone is derived an attitude of fairness for each and every one in the Dawu Group. For example, the Chairman of the Group may make three or four times the salary of a worker, but the Chairman's salary is capped in relation to the worker's. It is just and fair that there be no great distortions in salary as a reward for work.
It may also be understood with respect to legality and morality. Reason establishes rule of law for everyone in the Group. From rule of law is derived morality or attitude of every one or each individual in the Group. Legality and morality must continually adjust to be in balance. The one hundred year goal of the Dawu Group is that workers and citizens as a whole live under rule of law while individuals as parts of the whole follow guidelines of Confucian morality regarding fairness derived from reasoned justice.
Keep in mind that the system developed by Dawu Group is a family-based private one. Also, as the author understands it, Sun Dawu ceased to be a legal entity with his conviction in 2003. He is though the head of the family and one might also say the extended Sun family; as well as, head of others who wish to be part of a greater family while setting up their own families.
The legal structure of the Dawu Group is based on the constitutional systems of Great Britain, France and the United States and the Legalism that can be traced back to the prime ministership of Guan Zhong and later Mozi. The moral structure is based on the Confucian concept of the family. Basically, there was a kind of union so to speak in ancient times between Legalism which emphasized good government and Confucianism which dealt with morality.
D. Carlton Rossi
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D. Carlton Rossi