Follow us on Facebook to receive important updates Follow us on Twitter to receive important updates Follow us on's microblogging site to receive important updates Follow us on Douban to receive important updates
Chinese Text Project
Show translation:[None] [English]
-> -> -> External and Internal Affairs

《外內 - External and Internal Affairs》

English translation: J. J. L. Duyvendak [?] Library Resources
1 外內:
External and Internal Affairs:...:
Of the external affairs of the people, there is nothing more difficult than warfare, so an easy law cannot bring them to it. What is called an easy law? It is when rewards are few and authority weak, and when depraved doctrines are not obstructed. What are called depraved doctrines? They are when sophistry and knowledge are valued, when itinerant politicians receive office, and when scholarship and private reputations are in evidence. When these three are not barred, then people will not fight and affairs fail. For when rewards are few, then there is no advantage in obedience; when authority is weak, then there is no harm in transgression. Therefore depraved doctrines are started in order to mislead the people, and to make them fight while the law is easy, is like setting a cat to bait a rat. Is that not impossible? Therefore, he who desires to make his people fight, sees to it that the law is severe; consequently rewards will be numerous, authority will be strict, depraved doctrines will be obstructed, those engaged in sophistry and knowledge will not be honoured, itinerant politicians will not be employed in office, scholarship and private reputations will not be in evidence. If rewards are numerous and authority strict, then people, seeing that in war rewards are many, will forget the danger of death, and seeing their degradation when there is no war, will find life hard. When rewards make them forget the danger of death and strict authority causes them to find life hard, and moreover, depraved doctrines are barred, in this manner meeting the enemy would be like shooting, with a crossbow of a hundred piculs' capacity, a floating leaf. How would it be possible for it not to perish?

2 外內:
External and Internal Affairs:...:
Of the internal affairs of the people, there is nothing harder than agriculture. Therefore an easy administration cannot bring them to it. What is called an easy administration? When farmers are poor and merchants are rich, when clever people gain profit and itinerant office-seekers are numerous. So the farmers, in spite of their extremely hard labour, gain little profit, and are worse off than merchants and shopkeepers and all manner of clever people. If one succeeds in restricting the number of these latter, then, even if one wished to, one could not prevent a state from becoming rich. Therefore is it said: 'If one wishes to enrich the country through agriculture, then within the borders grain must be dear, taxes for those who are not farmers must be many, and dues on market-profit must be heavy, with the result that people are forced to have land. As those who have no land are obliged to buy their grain, grain will be dear, and those who have land will thus profit. When those who have land gain profit, there will be many who will occupy themselves (with agriculture).'

3 外內:
External and Internal Affairs:...:
When grain is dear, and the dealing in it is not profitable, while, moreover, heavy taxes are imposed, then people cannot fail to abolish merchants and shopkeepers and all manner of clever folk, and to occupy themselves in the profit from the soil. So the strength of the people will be fully exerted in the profit from the soil. Therefore, he who organizes a state, should let his soldiers have the full benefit of the profits on the frontiers, and let the farmers have the full benefit from the profits of the market. If the first happens, the state will be strong, and if the second happens, it will be rich. Therefore one who, abroad, is strong in warfare, and at home, is rich in peace, attains supremacy.

URN: ctp:shang-jun-shu/external-and-internal-affairs