Analects 12.7

Original Text:

子贡问政子曰足食足兵民信之矣子贡曰必不得已而去于斯三者何先曰去兵子贡曰必不得已而去于斯二者何先曰去食自古皆有死民无信不立

Translation:

Other Translations:

Zigong asked about governing.

The Master said, “Simply make sure there is sufficient food, sufficient armaments, and that you have the confidence of the common people.”

Zigong said, “If sacrificing one of these three things became unavoidable, which would you sacrifice first?”

The Master replied, “I would sacrifice the armaments.”

Zigong said, “If sacrificing one of the two remaining things became unavoidable, which would you sacrifice next?”

The Master replied, “I would sacrifice the food. Death has always been with us, but a state cannot stand once it has lost the confidence of the people.”

Confucius, & Slingerland, E. (2003). Analects: With selections from traditional commentaries. Hackett Publishing.

Zigong asked about government. The Master said, You need enough food, enough weaponry, and the trust of the common people.

Zigong said, If you had to do without one of these, which of the three would you do without first?

Do without weapons.

And if you had to do without one of the other two, which would it be?

The Master said, Do without food. From times past, everyone has to die. But without the trust of the common people, you get nowhere.

Confucius, & Watson, B. (2007). The Analects of Confucius. Columbia University Press.

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