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赵汀阳:A Political Philosophy of World

——in terms of All-under-heaven(Tian-xia)[1]

更新时间:2008-12-16 11:12:56
作者: 赵汀阳 (进入专栏)  

   and to produce the greatest common goods of the world; (3) a universal system of world works if it creates the harmony of all nations and all cultures. Upon these principles, Zhou created a system of world in terms of All-under-heaven.

  

  3. The Ancient Institutional Design of All-under-heaven

  

  The system of all-under-heaven is theoretically an open concept leading to possible designs of a system of world. Zhou’s design of all-under-heaven was the first and only one put into practice. It does not mean to recommend this ancient Chinese design here as an always-good example, for it was so old a design not to fit the contemporary world very well. But the eliciting points in this old design of all-under-heaven system could be supposed still worthy of contemporary rethinking and probably helpful in the forethought of future.

  

  Zhou’s design of all-under-heaven comes as follows[6]:

  

  1) It is a political system of monarch mixed with aristocracy.

  

  2) It is an open network consisting of a general government of the world, and the sub-states. The amount of sub-states depends on the diversity of cultures, nations or geographical conditions. The sub-states are pertaining to a general political system, just like the sub-sets pertaining to a greater set. The system of all-under-heaven is, since designed for the whole world, open to nations all over the world, and each nation is eligible to participation whenever it would join or it could choose instead to be at large if in peace with the nations in the system.

  

  3) The world government is in charge of the universal institutions, laws and world order, responsible for the common goods of the world, upholding world justice and peace as the judge of international conflicts among the sub-states, controlling the shared resources such as great rivers and big lakes as well as very important minerals or materials, and especially enjoying the authority to examine and recognize the political legitimacy of the sub-states, and also the authority to supervise the social and political conditions of the sub-states, as well as the authority to lead a punitive expedition if a sub-state breaks the universal law or order. But the world government will lose the legitimacy of its own, if it betrays justice or abuse its responsibilities, while the revolution is consequently justified.

  

  4) The sub-states are independent in their domestic economics, cultures, social norms and values, that is, independent in almost all forms of life except their political legitimacy and obligations. The sub-states are legitimated when politically recognized by the world government, and obliged to make certain contributions, in proportion to their products and natural resources, to the common goods of the world and the reciprocal aids, such as disaster relief and water control.

  

  5) An institutionally made equilibrium plays a key role to maintain the long-term cooperation in the system of all-under-heaven. The world government directly rules a land called King-land, about two times of a big sub-state, and about four times of a middle sub-state. And the military force controlled by the world government is greater than a big sub-state’s in a ratio of 6 to 3 divisions, larger than a middle one’s in 6 to 2 and than a small one in 6 to 1[7]. This design limits the King-land of the world government in its advantages over the sub-states either in resources or military power, and the same case a bigger sub-state over a smaller, so that a dominating superpower is nearly impossible while revolution becomes a potential but realistic threat preventing the world government from being oppressive.

  

  6) Another most important policy in the all-under-heaven system is that people enjoy their freedom of migration, either emigration or immigration, so that people could move to and work for any other state they prefer. It implies a philosophy of worldism rather than nationalism.

  

  Zhou’s institutional design of all-under-heaven, characterized by its worldism and its principle of harmony of all nations, had created a long-term peace of hundreds year in China that had been thought to be the world because of the limited geographical knowledge at that time. The spirit of all-under-heaven has so great influence on Chinese politics even today that Chinese politics could not be correctly understood without a good knowledge of the idea of all-under-heaven, although the political pursuit of all-under-heaven ended in BC221 when the first emperor of China annexed many states and established Qin Empire that distorted the concept of all-under-heaven. The decline of Zhou’s all-under-heaven is also of much inspiration. Absurdly, Zhou system waned because it was too good to be. The limited power and force of the world government of all-under-heaven, institutionally designed in favor of the independence and interests of the sub-states, had been proved not capable to cope with the ambitious challenges from strong sub-states[8].(点击此处阅读下一页)


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