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In the eighteenth century, JapanÃ¯Â¿Â½s feudal overlords, from [#permalink]
03 Jun 2009, 05:07
In the eighteenth century, Japan’s feudal overlords, from the shogun to the humblest samurai, found themselves under financial stress. In part, this stress can be attributed to the overlords’ failure to adjust to a rapidly expanding economy, but the stress was also due to factors beyond the overlords’ control. Concentration of the samurai in castle-towns had acted as a stimulus to trade. Commercial efficiency, in turn, had put temptations in the way of buyers. Since most samurai had been reduced to idleness by years of peace, encouraged to engage in scholarship and martial exercises or to perform administrative tasks that took little time, it is not surprising that their tastes and habits grew expensive. Overlords’ income, despite the increase in rice production among their tenant farmers, failed to keep pace with their expenses. Although shortfalls in overlords’ income resulted almost as much from laxity among their tax collectors (the nearly inevitable outcome of hereditary office-holding) as from their higher standards of living, a misfortune like a fire or flood, bringing an increase in expenses or a drop in revenue, could put a domain in debt to the city rice-brokers who handled its finances. Once in debt, neither the individual samurai nor the shogun himself found it easy to recover. It was difficult for individual samurai overlords to increase their income because the amount of rice that farmers could be made to pay in taxes was not unlimited, and since the income of Japan’s central government consisted in part of taxes collected by the shogun from his huge domain, the government too was constrained. Therefore, the Tokugawa shoguns began to look to other sources for revenue. Cash profits from government-owned mines were already on the decline because the most easily worked deposits of silver and gold had been exhausted, although debasement of the coinage had compensated for the loss. Opening up new farmland was a possibility, but most of what was suitable had already been exploited and further reclamation was technically unfeasible. Direct taxation of the samurai themselves would be politically dangerous. This left the shoguns only commerce as a potential source of government income. Most of the country’s wealth, or so it seemed, was finding its way into the hands of city merchants. It appeared reasonable that they should contribute part of that revenue to ease the shogun’s burden of financing the state. A means of obtaining such revenue was soon found by levying forced loans, known as goyo-kin; although these were not taxes in the strict sense, since they were irregular in timing and arbitrary in amount, they were high in yield. Unfortunately, they pushed up prices. Thus, regrettably, the Tokugawa shoguns’ search for solvency for the government made it increasingly difficult for individual Japanese who lived on fixed stipends to make ends meet.
Which of the following best describes the attitude of the author toward the samurai discussed in lines 11-16? (A) Warmly approving (B) Mildly sympathetic (C) Bitterly disappointed (D) Harshly disdainful (E) Profoundly shocked please elaborate the sentences from the passage which make you to select answer B but not C.. I selected C coz i thought that the condition explained in the passage is a pretty disappointed for the author.... please explain..
The passage suggests that, in eighteenth-century Japan, the office of tax collector (A) was a source of personal profit to the officeholder (B) was regarded with derision by many Japanese (C) remained within families (D) existed only in castle-towns (E) took up most of the officeholder’s time
1. B - because author not only offended Samurai but also gave reason that why he thought so. therefore he was sympathetic towards and intended to justify their failure. 2. C - see the texts given within braces "the nearly inevitable outcome of hereditary office-holding"