Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Susan J. Henders
Asian values is a controversial concept associated with prominent Asian politicians and establishment intellectuals who claimed that the Asian postwar “economic miracle” was due to the shared culture of East Asian societies, especially those of Confucian heritage. They asserted that the “Asian values” that explained this success were discipline, hard work, frugality, educational achievement, balancing individual and societal needs, and deference to authority. Proponents argued that Western models of liberal human rights, democracy, and capitalism were unsuited to East Asia because they fostered excessive individualism and legalism. This had undermined social order and economic dynamism in the West. Critics pointed to the contradictions and weaknesses in these claims and argued they served the interests of Asia's authoritarian elites. These arguments connect with debates in political theory over universalist and particularist accounts of human rights, social justice, and social order, as well as social, economic, and political change. They are also ...