The purpose of this study is to construct the theory of inequality in Confucian by way of the normative philosophy of the pre-Chin Empire Confucians and Li-Ki theory of neo- Confucian. Neo―Confucian cosmology states that all the things and phenomena are composed of the combination of Li and Ki. And the moral hierarchy existing in all the things comes from the differences in the realization of Li and Ki resulting from the differences in purity, impurity, the transmitted, and the blocked of Ki. According to Li-Ki theory, the inequality is a kind of things and is also made up of the combination of the status of Li and the status of Ki. Mencius calls the status of Ki the title graced by the heaven and this is a personal status resulted from the virtue. On the other hand, the status of Ki, which is titled by man, is the social status acquired through the virtue and capability.
Confucian keeps the consistent standpoint, alerting the fact that the social inequality is dependent on the status of Ki and indifferent to the status of Li. When Confucian copes with inequality, it considers it desirable to emphasize the status of Li and to subordinate the status of KI, focusing on how to reduce the disparity between the status of Li and Ki. In order to handle the inequality, it tried to make the social status(Ki) congruent with the social role (Li) through the political righteous name and it also tried to improve the conditions which realized the nature of benevolence and righteousness of people through the economic affluence and the even distribution of richness. More direct way of overcoming inequality was to provide people with the equal opportunities of education, opening the opportunities for reaching the status of Li.
Basically the inequality theory of Confucian is conservative but it also includes the liberal ideology in the sense that it argues that the social status should be determined by the universal value such as virtue and the objective standard such as one's capability. It can be said that Confucian is similar to the hierarchial approach in the points that the standard of classifying the social inequality is pluralistic and it considers that the social status is caused by the differences in the way of living and finally it attaches the importance to the organic relations between the social status. The inequality theory of Confucian is meaningful in several senses in understanding the unequal social phenomenon of the modern Korean society where the Confucian culture governs the deep aspects of the society. First, the personal resources such as the virtue and noble personality work as the important factors of social inequality. Second, in the Confucian order, the relationship based on the blood ties is the main cause of the social inequality. Third, the Confucian culture based on the family and family property system emphasizes the friendliness and harmony rather than the competition and antagonism in the relation between the social status.