Confucius said: “If people with a courageous streak find themselves trapped in poverty, chaos will ensue. If people without a trace of goodness decide their sufferings are too great, chaos will ensue.”
Confucius is not issuing a cry for revolution here; he’s simply stating the obvious fact that if the common people are pushed beyond their limits they are likely to rise up in rebellion.
It is the duty of the ruler therefore to make sure that the most vulnerable members of society are looked after properly in order to maintain social order. It’s also the responsibility of the ruler to set everyone the right example by acting in a virtuous manner so that that common people will follow.
We’re seeing the same dynamic in play now in the growing debate about “austerity”. As the income disparity between the affluent 1% and the remaining 99% continues to grow a backlash is all but inevitable; indeed it’s already happened on a small scale in countries like Greece.
Isn’t it amazing how despite all our amazing technological advances we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes that have plagued human history?