Though it has been seventeen years since its establishment, there's still much controversy over the positioning of the Unirule Institute of Economics. In current society, the so-called "positioning" is actually about what we exchange with society for our income. In ancient times, when asked why sages do not cultivate the fields, Mencius responded by asking why farmers do not make pottery. In Mencius' opinion, sages supply society with public goods of governance and enlightenment, which are enough to exchange for their food and clothing. This demonstrates that cultural elites of a society are capable of participating in the division of labor among society by their advantages.
However, Confucius said, "What an elite seeks for is justice, not food." This means, though the elites are capable of exchanging with society for what they need as they understand natural laws and can apply them to the order of human's world, their primary responsibility is to promote natural laws in society while food and clothing are secondary, or rather, by-products of their seeking for justice. This implies that "seeking for justice" should be given top priority when the two collide with each other.
Confucius also said, "When there are just orders in a state, poverty and a mean condition are things to be ashamed of. When there are no just orders in a state, riches and honors are things to be ashamed of." In a society with political cleanness and justice, an elite's problem of "food seeking" will naturally be solved. In comparison, in a society with political darkness and injustice, "justice seeking" and "food seeking" will collide with each other. It's also at this time when "jsutice seeking" becomes even more important and whether ap elite is a true elite could be tested.
The Unirule Institute of Economics positions itself as a provider of institutional innovation and change solutions, aiming to promote our society to "the right way," which at the same time provides a preferable condition for the Unirule to "seek food." When institutional change encounters difficulties, we also find ourselves in difficulty. However, we should also realize that this is also the very moment when the value of the Unirule could be embodied.
Therefore, we should evaluate Unirule's performance more from the perspective of "justice seeking," that is, the perspective of the elite or the scholar, rather than the perspective of "food seeking." At this time, an organization is just like a man. There are both ordenary men and elites among a group of people, and there are both "food seeking" organizations and "justice seeking" organizations among all organizations. The Unirule institute of Economics might be one of the organizations who keep justice in their minds. Such being the case, we are not perplexed about Unirule's positioning any more.
At present, demand for institutional solutions, especially constitutional solutions, is getting stronger in Chinese society. However, there are few suppliers. This is not only because of the difficulty of "seeking food" to be the supplier, but also more because of lack of supply ability. This is exactly the opportunity for the Unirule. Those who succeed in food seeking might profit temporarily, while those who dedicate to seek for justice may not be repaid properly at times. However, the latter will survive with society, and become eternal along with justice.
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