平准 – Chinese philosophy and culture

píngzhǔn 平准

Maintain Prices at an Appropriate Level

平抑物价,使之合乎一定基准。这是古代中国的一种经济制度。其具体做法是:设置专门官职和机构,掌握一定的重要物资,市场物价过高时卖出,市场物价过低时买入,从而防止商家囤积居奇,牟取暴利,保持物价平稳。其中隐含的基本观念是:政府负有市场调控的职责;政府通过经济手段、市场行为进行市场调控;政府市场调控的宗旨是抑制私家垄断,保障平衡与公平,维护广大民众利益,确保经济秩序与社会秩序稳定。

This means to maintain the prices of goods at an appropriate level. It was an economic measure used in ancient China. Specifically, designated official positions and agencies were established which controlled certain important materials. These were sold when market prices were excessively high and bought when prices were excessively low. In this way, merchants were prevented from profiteering by hoarding goods, and prices were kept steady. Implicit in this approach was the idea that government has a responsibility to regulate markets. It did so by using economic measures and market actions; the goals of market regulation by the government were to suppress private monopolies, ensure balance and fairness, safeguard the interests of the general public, and ensure economic and social stability.

引例 Citation:

◎大农之诸官尽笼天下之货物,贵即卖之,贱则买之。如此,富商大贾无所牟大利,则反本,而万物不得腾踊。故抑天下物,名曰“平准”。(《史记·平准书》)

(大司农所属各机构负责聚集天下的货物,物价昂贵时则卖出,物价低贱时则买入。这样,那些富商就无从牟取暴利,贸易于是回归正常状态,而所有货物的价格就不会暴涨了。因为它用来平抑天下货物的价格,所以称之为“平准”。)

Offices under the minister in charge of tax revenues, the state monopolies of salt and iron and state finances are responsible for having stocks of goods from all over the country. They sell when prices are high and buy when prices are low; hence rich merchants will be unable to profiteer, trade will return to normal and there will be no great fluctuations in any prices. Because this is done to smooth out the prices of all goods, it is known as “smoothing prices to a set level.” (Records of the Historian)

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