In political and sociological theory, the term “elites” describes a relatively small group of authoritative individuals, for example oligarchy, who manage an unequally large amount of possessions or political supremacy in the community or society. This group of people generally holds higher positions among the ordinary citizens and thus they are able to exercise greater power over the rest of the population. The current political structure in the countries of the East Asia region is politically diverse, varying from political equality to a totalitarian repression. Nowadays, there is a lot of research interest with a focus on the sociology of political elites, which includes problems caused by the elites as well as a need for elite regulation in East Asian Tradition.
Problems with Elites
The proceedings that spread out around the globe at such a quick and often confusing speed can only be a preface for the unfortunate consequences that will follow unavoidably. While it may be difficult to trace, some scholars argue that the current state of world affairs has been coordinated by the global elites, who fully aim at creating as much disaster and damage in the world as possible. First, there is a phenomenon of weakening and destruction of nation states. For instance, in the Middle East such destruction is factual. In many Europeans and South American countries, the destruction comes as a result of financial attacks, which weakening a country’s ability to properly function, with the most recent example being Greece.
Secondly, the stock markets around the world are often stumbling from the effects of central bankers who often try to hide the illegal activities behind the monetary scenes. Such big banks cannot fail because they are possessed by the global elites, who often control the political structure of a country. The global elites have been preparing for the ultimate failure of the financial world as it subsists while hiding their new plans.
Elite regulation is not exceptional. This approach combines the rewards and punishments with the intention of having an honorable personality. It leads to inevitable questions about the actual effects that elite rule as material and proper management have in the political affairs of East Asian countries over the recent years. There are various questions regarding whether it was the best solution or practice that led to complications on the behaviors of East Asians.
First, the Confucian solution in practice in the East Asian tradition involves material and proper management, just like any conventional control which is the outline of physical and moral security. From the Confucian viewpoint, if elites are to be regulated, one has to be able to control them from a material point of view and with integrity. Thus to overcome ethical risks, it is necessary to present elites with material incentives, things that are regarded excellent or acceptable and moral character.
Creation of Service Incentives
Under the ideas of content administration, there is an establishment of duty motivations given to the responsible socio-political services. This includes civil service examination. At the governmental level, the incentives given to the elites on entering into an administrative department actually link the state's services to wealth, status, and power. These bring about actual opportunity cost that combines and binds the elites to administrative services of the current political regime in a country. Opportunity cost is essential, as it involves the attraction of business and relations. Besides the attraction of business and the community, members of the elite classes have to pass through various examinations before getting into the governmental services. Even after passing these exams, the elites should not automatically be admitted into the government services. In order to achieve this goal; the elites must undergo other special examinations.
Creation of Local and Informal Service Elites
Chinese Gentry, Korean Yangbaw, Vietnamese elders and Japanese samurai all share some characteristics, because at some point in history they have entered into the sphere of local and socio-political service. They offered many functions of local order, local law and local regulations regarding elites. It can be quite a demanding and satisfying life, because one can significantly increase his/her own status through such service. Thus, it helps in linking unofficial but concrete statuses and power with the local management. For instance, if one comes from the middle-class profession of merchants, they face a dilemma in choosing what they want to do with their lives. That is pursuing their business intentions or become part of the local elite class. They have to provide evidence which would demonstrate that they are fit for the service. Over time, these people and their families start building up their statuses as local leaders, who are unique to East Asia. Therefore, it becomes a foundation for holding these societies together.
This point includes rewards, penalties, and laws that shape the code of conduct. Institutional incentives are essential both ethically and materially. Private organizations and academies should encourage teachings and moral education support. Moral education assistance helps in elite regulation in East Asian custom.
Formal and Informal Linkage
The connection of an elite status and power to serve should serve both the states and local community networks. Thus, official and unofficial examinations are essential for this task. For formal tests, there are civil service examinations that connect the vast wealth, status, and power with routine services. Informal testing, on the other hand, links local status, authority, possessions, and opportunity, such as matrimony networks, to part-time or full-time local services. These local services include charitable trust investment, for example like irrigation and land reclamation, which tie together the economic success of a community. Informal services build the characteristics of East Asian service made up of intellectual activists who come from multiple different social classes.
Three is also an important aspect of the attraction of allies and reduction of enemies through avoidance of military confrontations by creating military strength. This approach intends to dissuade an enemy from taking an action that has not started yet or to stop them from doing something that another nation needs. The use of military threats as a means to avoid a disaster and costly wars has been the central focus of research for a long time. A risk serves avoidance to the extent that it proves to its aim not to carry out the intended action. Thus, it helps to increase the number of friends and reduces the number of direct enemies.
Expansion of commercial privileges, which relies on opening of new markets and trade routes, also helps in attracting new friends and in reducing the number of enemies. Trading opportunities bring people together including elites in the market this reduces the number of enemies. It also reduces the power of elites both on the status, wealth and power bringing about friendship.
Material subsidies for allied elites are also essential in attracting new partners and decreasing the amount of adversaries. Through subsidies, the elites can uphold the industrial system of a society solely by extending the trading rights. It breaks the hierarchy of authority possessed by the elite groups, and thus leads to the emergence of various competing groups in the market. These elites build up networks of coalition and friendship formalized through the elites meetings and events. It leads to an increasing demand and thus increases the trade volume between nations and inside of a nation.
A proper order is also essential in regulating the elites. It involves a necessary framework of global stability. Under this proposition, there is the Confucian solution of magnetic supremacy, by which those who are close should be contented while those who are far should be attracted. Regulation of elites in East Asia region will ensure that the local people are happy, and thus people from other states can be attracted in the East Asia region. There is also the Confucian approach to international relations which involves dichotomous order that is anarchy or hierarchy. Anarchy is likely to results in such a war or a conflict that may be destructive to the civilization as a whole. It is not a suitable solution for regulation of the elites, because such a regulation requires a peaceful existence. There should be punishments for those people who create havoc and instigate wars in the society because war should be for the citizens and the citizens should not be used for war.
Confucian Policy Positions for Creation of just Peace
Creation of peace is a very important necessity in practically any nation-state. In the East Asia region, the main utilized strategies include the dominant strategy, which is also referred to as the majority or consensus approach. Here every citizen has a right to participate in peace creation activities, reduce the number of enemies by increasing the number of allies and thus by regulating the number of elites. The reason behind this is that people will become morally responsible and learn to appreciate the value of human life and thus they will avoid wars and chaos in their countries. Another strategy is that of universal empire also referred to as minority approach. This plan is adopted particularly in the launch of stable empire. The criticism behind this approach is that it is too expensive the regarding fiscal costs, yet it involves a small number of participants. Besides, it can lead to resistance of these expenses leading to conflict. Also, there will very likely be some moral costs with regards to teaching and aiding education for peace creation. Thus, many people will become enemies due to a lack of peace.
Insualtion, also referred to as the Great Wall strategy, is used primarily by the minorities. Individuals usually implement this policy in times of weakness, for instance as a reaction against the voyages at the expense of fortune fleets. These responses help lessen the power of the elites, because they are not given the chance to flee with the treasure fleets. Criticism of this approach includes the loss of inventiveness through a strategic separation and militarism. It can also lead to a severe war between two or more nations.
This point involves a cultural appreciation. Recognizing other people’s culture as civilized and independent is essential for this point. It helps to reduce the power of elites by bringing together people from different cultures. Thus, culture is the easiest way of elite regulation when people from different cultures are recognized as civilized and equal to those of the local culture.
Transmission of Confucian Moral Values
What makes Confucianism a still active and healthy tradition in the modern world cannot come down to any fixed pattern of relations, or societal and political lives. The contemporary significance of Confucianism is in its moral and spiritual principles. It puts much focus on ethical responsibilities, significance of value transmission and its human understanding which are the key elements of Confucianism have the most relevance for future development. It is a form of elite regulation which will contribute to an ethic of accountability, give new energy to the development of comprehensive education system and help individuals in their search for the significant meaning of life in this era of globalization.
Ritualization and Ritual Diplomacy
A ritual is a real activity without any intrinsic implications or objectives. It is an essential lesson for those who study ritual diplomacy because it can place limitations on the various critical responsibilities through applying an understanding of the process of ritualization. It is also essential as it involves teaching and practicing virtual centeredness on the extended family. Although ritualization remains largely limited to the elites and is determined by a nation state, it helps in regulating the society through invention of customs, rather than through de-ritualization of politics. The military should not include people from the elites, because this will help in learning and internalizing principles of diplomacy than in the conduct of ritual. There should be credible commitment and trust to minimize the power of elites thus regulating them.
Besides, it is essential to make hegemony morally acceptable. Cultural hegemony involves an ethnically diverse society by the ruling class, who control the culture of the country. Making hegemony morally acceptable can be achieved through creation of authorities, which would heavily rely on cooperation and reciprocity.