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Institution Course Date Question 4: Explain the logic of the Ever Normal Granaries and how they illustrate Proper Order Introduction The Ever-Normal-Granaries system was established by early Confucian traditions as a means of regulating and encouraging society’s “collective” responsibility for maintaining “law and order” (De Barry and Bloom 192)…
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Download file to see previous pages In addition, citizens in areas of China that were especially vulnerable to droughts and famine would have access to food in times of distress (De Barry and Bloom 623-624; Lecture Notes). Ever-Normal-Granaries in Practice The earliest regulatory framework implemented for the Ever-Normal-Granaries under the imperial government, required the construction of state storage facilities in each county. The granaries were under the management of local authorities. Storage capacity and grain actually stored were commensurate with population sizes. For example, a heavily populated county would store more bushels of grain than a county with a relatively smaller population. At the end of the fall harvest, grain could be purchased in counties where the price of grain was lower and therefore supplies were higher. In order to safeguard against the natural destruction of the grain, a predetermined amount of grain was put on the market at a lower price and subsequently replaced (De Barry and Bloom 624; Lecture Notes). In regions where agriculture was by far the most important and perhaps the only source of food and economics, additional measures were taken. Grain was used to subsidize loans to peasant farmers who experienced a shortage in food and grain seeds (De Barry and Bloom 624-625; Lecture Notes). In other words, the collateral for a loan was the promise by the debtor of a specific quota in grain production at some time in the future. To this end, the Ever-Normal-Granaries in practice, was a system intended to keep the masses in food supply as a means of providing an incentive and a relief fund, for the production of grain. A charitable granary was also established pursuant to the Zhu Xi’s Neo-Confucian philosophy (De Barry and Bloom 748). This neo-Confucian philosophy emphasized the duty of the wealthy to contribute toward the welfare of the poor and was thus a strategy for the alleviation of poverty. During good harvest times, all cities were required to set up charitable granaries. Farmers were expected to make contributions of rice and wheat commensurate with their crop and store the rice and wheat in the charitable granary. City officials were responsible for collecting the grain donations and in lean times were required to make the grain available to those who needed it the most, but could not afford to pay for it (De Barry and Bloom 748). The Logic of the Ever-Normal-Granaries According to De Barry and Bloom, the Ever-Normal-Granaries was designed to ensure the fair distribution of the country’s food supplies (624). For example, if a county with approximately 10,000 families had 1,000 bushels of grain stored and put those stored grains to market when prices increased, the price of grain would become stabilized. Logically, when grain prices are stable, there is enough grain for everyone. As De Barry and Bloom explain: There is no hoarding of grain by some while others beg for food, no pursuing and pressing by the headman of the village to make people pay back their loans (624). The logic of the Ever-Normal-Granaries was not merely informed by the need to alleviate poverty. The logic of the Ever-Normal-Granaries was also informed by moral reasoning. According to Mencius, one of the first important Confucius followers, the youth tended to behave themselves during the good years and were more inclined ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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