制民之产 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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zhì mín zhī chǎn 制民之产

Sustaining the People’s Livelihood

创制民众的产业。“制民之产”是孟子(前372?—前289)提出的一种为政要求。孟子认为,百姓如果没有稳定的产业收入,无法维持自身的生存,就会为了维持生计而背离道德。因此,为政者必须首先为百姓创造、提供必要的产业,使其生产所得能够满足日常生活的需要。“制民之产”是为政者推行道德教化的基础和前提。

This expression means to ensure a secure livelihood for the people, a requirement for governance proposed by Mencius (372?-289 BC), who believed that if the common people did not have a steady income and could not maintain their survival, they would deviate from moral righteousness in pursuit of survival. Rulers, therefore, must create and provide the necessary means for the common people to maintain their daily lives. “Sustaining the people’s livelihood” is the foundation and prerequisite for rulers who wish to promote the moral edification of the people.

引例 Citation:

◎曰:“无恒产而有恒心者,惟士为能。若民,则无恒产,因无恒心。苟无恒心,放辟邪侈,无不为已。及陷于罪,然后从而刑之,是罔民也。焉有仁人在位罔民而可为也?是故明君制民之产,必使仰足以事父母,俯足以畜妻子,乐岁终身饱,凶年免于死亡。然后驱而之善,故民之从之也轻。”(《孟子·梁惠王上》)

(孟子说:“没有稳定的产业收入而有恒常的道德观念的,只有士人可以做到。至于普通百姓,如果没有稳定的产业收入,则没有恒常的道德观念,行为放纵,违法乱纪,什么事情都做得出来。等到他们犯了罪,然后施加刑罚,这是陷害百姓。怎么会有仁爱之人为政而做出陷害百姓的行为呢?因此贤明的君主会创制民众的产业,必须使百姓上足以侍奉父母,下足以抚养妻儿,丰年能够吃饱,灾年能够不致饿死。然后引导民众向善,百姓也就容易遵从了。”)

Mencius said, “Only men of education are able, without certainty in their livelihood, to maintain moral standard. As to the common people, without such certainty, they will not maintain moral standard. In this condition, there is nothing they will not do, in the way of self-abandonment, moral deflection, depravity, and wild license. When they have thus engaged in crime, to then punish them, however, would constitute entrapment. How can such a thing be done by a benevolent ruler? An intelligent ruler will regulate the livelihood of the people, so as to make sure they have sufficient resources to care for their parents, and sufficient resources to support their wives and children, so that in good years they shall always be abundantly satisfied, and in bad years they shall escape the danger of being starved to death. After this he may guide them to do what is good, and in this case the people will readily follow him.” (Mencius)

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