Chan Kung's Four Stages of Civilization Model and Its Implications
Zhao Zhijiang, Chan Kung
Chan Kung, the founder of ANBOUND, developed his model of the four stages of
civilization, which ranks all the civilizations in the world into four distinct
stages: primitive, early learning, developmental, and stable. Chan's model
provides students of international relations and politics with a practical tool
to conduct analysis about various social trends, norms, and popular opinions in
a country. It can be used to analyze topics such as perceptions regarding
money, marriage, life and death, and religious beliefs, which are all important
elements of civilizations. Beyond its practicability, this model not only simplifies
paradigms from the 18th to 20th century that are overly detailed, but also
amends past schematic theories.
The primitive stage refers to countries with zero tolerance of modern civilizations, which consist of today's poor and war-torn nations. When a country begins to embrace the idea of modernity, it enters the early learning stage, the second level of Chan's model. Most developing countries are at this phase. They are facing issues such as pollution, overpopulation, moral decay, and inequality associated with rapid urbanization and economic development. They need to become more enlightened in order to reach the developmental stage, which will require them to find the balance between their traditional cultures and modern civilizations. The final stage of this model is called the stable stage, which manifests a pronounced and structurally stable modernity. A stable country can withstand changes and challenges throughout history. Stability is inseparable from the development of every country, yet its historical and cultural implications are not easily known.
China's economic growth and technological achievements since the 1970s are phenomenal. Yet it is still at the early learning stage of Chan's model. Recent episodes such as the Feng County Mother Scandal and the Tangshan Incident are harming China's sustainable growth and reputation, as these events should not happen in modern civilization. China must solve the social challenges posed by moral crises and become enlightened through the change. Only then, it will truly become a modern civilization that is inherently stable.
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