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Xu Xing was a philosopher and thinker during the Warring States and 100 Schools of Thought period of Chinese history, who advocated a return to an egalitarian, agricultural society. Unlike many of the other disputing philosophical schools, his beliefs are only recorded second hand, and through the writings of a rival school, the Confucians. After Xu Xing converts a duke to his view of rulers living with the people, tilling the fields, some former Confucians come to speak with Mencius, and Mencius debates them in a long passage where he speaks against Xu Xing's egalitarian and agricultural pretensions, basically accusing him of being all hat and no cattle, since he still uses silk, metal and other goods that he must trade for. He also includes a classist lecture in the difference between physical and mental labor, and a little speech about free market economics.

Being that the only record we have of Xu Xing is a polemic against him from a rival school, there is no telling what types of subtleties or historical background to his beliefs there may have been. Whatever the moral strength of an egalitarian, agricultural economy would have been, there is a good chance that it would have become more and more of an impossible dream as Chinese society and culture became more technological and complicated. However, it should also be pointed out that while the ideal might have been impossible to achieve, it was certainly an understandable goal, in a time when war was neverending, to have rulers who wanted to peacefully plow, rather than start wars. It is also much better than the philosophy that did come to rule China, at least briefly: the totalitarian philosophy of legalism.

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