Bonus Quote for the Day
Do not be greedy for population, or the common people will run from you. Do not build huge castles and moats, or the common people will tire of you. When taxes are unfair, the poor grow poorer day by day. When punishments and awards are arbitrary and discriminatory, the rich grow richer day by day. When regulations and prohibitions are not observed in practice, then the state crumbles.From The Master of the Hidden Storehouse, a classic of Chinese literature read and studied by Chinese leaders for 2000 years, as translated by Thomas Cleary. (Source of the previous quote.)
If officials and functionaries lack ability, they lose the proper measure of leniency and sternness. They may even struggle with the common people for their own profit and advantage. Because of this, craft and deceit arise, which make people treacherous and unpredictable.
Now then, when the ruled are unpredictable, the rulers are suspicious and when the rulers are suspicious, the ruled increase in confusion. Once the ruled are confused, the officials weary of their tasks. When officials weary of their tasks, then awards are not adequate for motivation, and punishments are not adequate for deterrence. It is easy to cause a stir, hard to bring calm. This state of affairs is due to failure to find the right people for office.
The most essential thing in the art of government is to screen personnel.
What's old is new again, huh?