Mozi said: There are seven causes of worry to a state and they are:
(1) When the outer and the inner city walls are not defensible;
(2) When an enemy state is approaching and yet one's neighbours do not come to the rescue;
(3) When the resources of the people have all been spent on useless enterprises and gifts all squandered upon incapable men, when people's resources are exhausted without producing any profit and the treasury is emptied by entertaining idle company;
(4) When the officials value only their salaries, and the sophists only friendship, and when the subordinates dare not remonstrate against the laws the ruler has made for persecution;
(5) When the lord is over-confident of his own wisdom and holds no consultation, when he feels he is secure and makes no preparations against attack; and when he does not know that he must be watchful while neighbours are planning against him;
(6) When those trusted are not loyal and the loyal are not trusted; and
(7) When the crops are not sufficient for food and the ministers can not be charged with responsibilities, and when awards fail to make people happy and punishment to make them afraid.
With these seven causes present in the maintenance of the state, the state will perish, and, in the defence of a city, the city will be reduced to ruin by the approaching enemy. Wherever these seven causes are found, the country will face calamity.
Now, the five grains are the people's mainstay and the source of the ruler's revenue. When the people lose their support the ruler cannot have any revenue either. And without food the people will not observe order. Therefore, food should be secured, land cultivated and expenditures cut down. When all the five grains are gathered, all the five tastes will be offered the ruler; when not all gathered, the five tastes will not be all offered. Failure of one grain is called dearth; failure of two grains is called scarcity; failure of three grains is called calamity; failure of four grains is called want; and failure of all five grains is called famine. When the country is in dearth, all the salaries of the officials below the rank of the minister will be reduced by one-fifth; in scarcity, they will be reduced by two-fifths; in calamity, they will be reduced by three-fifths; in want, they will be reduced by four-fifths; and when famine is in the country there will be no salaries beyond their rations. Therefore when famine and dearth visit a country, the ruler will omit three from the five items of sacrifice, the officials will suspend the courts, and the scholars will not go to school and the lord will not put on his robe to give audience. Even envoys from other feudal lords and messengers from neighbouring states are entertained with cooked food only, and it is not sumptuous. The side-horses of the carriage-team are done away with and the walks (in the palace) are not weeded. Neither are the horses fed with grains, nor are the concubines and maids clothed with silk. And this is the sign of extreme scarcity.
Now, if carrying her child and drawing water from a well, a woman dropped the child into the well, she would of course endeavour to get it out. But famine and dearth is a much greater calamity than the dropping of a child. Should there not be also endeavour (to prevent it)? People are gentle and kind when the year is good, but selfish and vicious when it is bad. Yet, how can they be held responsible? When many produce but few consume then there can be no bad year; on the contrary, when few produce but many consume then there can be no good year. Thus it is said: scarcity of supply should stimulate study of the seasons and want of food demands economy of expenditures. The ancients produced wealth according to seasons. They ascertained the source of wealth before they appropriated the products, and therefore they had plenty. Could even the ancient sage-kings cause the five grains invariably to ripen and be harvested and the floods and the droughts never to occur? Yet, none were frozen or starved, why was it? It was because they made full use of the seasons and were frugal in their own maintenance. The history of Xia says that the Deluge lasted seven years in the time of Yu and the history of Yin tells that a drought visited Tang for five years. These are the extremes of disasters. Yet the people were not frozen or starved. Why was this so? The reason lies in diligent production and thrifty consumption.
Therefore, famine and dearth cannot be prepared against unless there are stored grains in the granaries, and justice cannot be maintained against the unjust unless there are ready weapons in the armoury. One cannot defend himself unless the inner and the outer city walls are in repair, and one cannot meet emergencies unless his ideas are well thought out. Thus Qing Ji was unprepared, and he should not have set out on the journey. Jie made no preparations against Tang and he was sent to exile. And Zhou made no preparations against Wu and he was executed. Now, Jie and Zhou were both emperors in rank and possessed the whole empire, yet they both perished at the hands of rulers (of states) of only a hundred li square. What is the reason for this? Because they depended on their rank and wealth and made no preparations. Therefore, preparation is what a country should emphasize. Supply is the treasure of a country, armament its claws, and the city walls are the stronghold of its self-defence. And these three items are the essentials to the existence of a state.
(The present rulers) squander great amounts of wealth to reward the undeserving, empty the treasury to acquire carriages and horses, exhaust the labourers to build palaces and furnish amusements. Upon their death, again, thick coffins and many coats and fur coats are to be furnished. Porches and pavilions are built for them while they are living. and tombs when they are dead. By this the people are embittered and the treasury is left lean. While the amusements are not yet satisfying to the superiors, the hardship already becomes unbearable for the subjects. Such a state will fall under any attack and such people will perish by famine. And all this is due to the absence of preparation. Moreover, food is what the sages treasured. The history of Zhou says, "Without three years' food (in store) a state cannot be a state (as it is in danger of losing its sovereignty). A family being without food in store to be sufficient for three years its children cannot be its children (who are in danger of being abandoned or sold to others)." Such, then, is the preparation of a country.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
An ancient article to share, even older than 2000 years after this publisher, it still meaningful to current world. Shared from Chinese Text Project.