2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

On the “Land-regulation-program” of Mencius: With a critical review of Liang Qichao’s ideas concerning the land system of Ancient China

Yee-yen Lee

Professor Emeritus of Physics, National Tsing Hua University

Cheng-chung Lai

Department of Economics, National Tsing Hua University

This article presents a critical review of Liang Qichao’s views concerning the pre-Qin井田(Well-field) system, including the much-debated land-partition and farm-taxation regulations, both legendary and historical, and Menciu’s role in that controversy. Through a thorough analysis of relevant historical evidence, we offer an alternative interpretation. We suggest that the original plan of Mencius was only a Land-regulation-program, designed especially for a small city-state named Teng, to resolve her problems caused by the deterioration of field-borderlines. Yet, later scholars (including Liang) over-interpreted and over-generalized this program into an idealized nationwide land-partition and farm-taxation system.


Keywords: Liang Qichao, land system in pre-Qin China, Mencius’s land-regulation-program, Well-field system