Chapter 35 - Privatization (1/2)
After viewing the village stats, Ouyang Shuo told Gu Xiuwen to convene the principal officials to the meeting room to discuss something. The officials who were to attend the meeting, in addition to the chiefs and their deputies, were also to include all five cavalry sergeants and all the advanced technical talent of the territory.
After he left, Ouyang Shuo went to the administrative office. Many of his ideas would need to be processed through Administration Department. Therefore, before the commencement of the meeting, he and Fan Zhongyan needed to talk about some things.
The two of them spoke about military reform, privatization, and other important matters, and they had a sincere and effective conversation. Ouyang Shuo had to admire Mr. Xi Wen’s experienced ability in handling governmental matters. Many of the decision-making details of his instructions had problems, which were pointed out and immediately amended and improved upon.
Half an hour later, in the new meeting chamber, Ouyang Shuo sat himself down in the middle of the gathered people and began to host the first meeting since the upgrade to third grade village.
“After upgrading the territory, more challenges await us ahead. To ensure the safe and orderly development of the territory, our primary task will be to expand the army. In yesterday’s defensive battles, the cavalry team played the greatest role. Therefore, I have decided to expand the cavalry to a full one hundred men. General Shi will act as the the captain of the cavalry squadron, with the1st cavalry platoon under his command. In addition, 3rd squad Sergeant Lin Yi performed outstandingly in yesterday’s battles, and will be promoted to the rank of lieutenant, leading the 2nd cavalry platoon!”
Lin Yi bowed from his seat, “My lord’s trust will not be broken!”
Shuo nodded in reply. “The cavalry 1st platoon is to be mainly composed of soldiers from the current cavalry team. The 2nd platoon will need to start new admissions. Admitting new recruits will be done by General Shi and Lin Yi. My suggestion is to choose from the current militia that performed well during the defense warfare.
“Accordingly, the new military system will be rearranged. Former 4th squad Sergeant Zhao Si Hu will be transferred to the 2nd platoon 1st squad. Former 2nd squad Sergeant San Gouzi will have his duties lifted, I have other plans for him. 5th squad Sergeant Li Mingliang will be transferred to the 1st platoon 2nd squad.”
Ouyang Shuo said to General Shi, “The cavalry will need seven more sergeants. After General Shi and Captain Lin Yi have inspected and appointed them, report them to me. Lin Yi should also have the right to recommend the people for his 2nd platoon.”
General Shi nodded his head, indicating that he understood Shuo’s meaning.
“In view of the further expansion of the size of our territory, the external environment is becoming more complex. In order not to be caught by surprise, I think it is necessary to set up a Military Intelligence Division, with the former 2nd squad Sergeant San Gouzi as the secretary.”
San Gouzi, who had been apprehensive since he had lost his previous duties, sighed in relief as he heard about his new duties. “I will not disappoint the Lord’s faith in me!” he called out.
“The new division will have twenty people allocated to it, formed by the former 2nd cavalry squad members with additional new recruits coming in. The new division will be operating independently. It will operate autonomously and will be led by both the cavalry team and myself. These will be the adjustments to the military. Are there any questions?”
General Shi stood up and straightforwardly said, “My Lord, I have something to say. Expanding the army, I am naturally in favor of. The problem is, as the Lord has just said, the number of troops will reach more than 120 soldiers. Now, the barracks cannot hold so many, and there are only 53 slots left for the change of jobs of basic soldiers, we cannot meet the demand for all the new soldiers.”
“In order to alleviate these problems, I am going to upgrade the barracks to an intermediate barracks,” Shuo replied quickly.
“Excellent, then I have no more worries!” General Shi said, clearly pleased.
About military matters, other than General Shi, nobody had anything else to say.
“The issue of military reform is closed. The next thing to discuss is the core topic of this meeting. Taking advantage of the upgrading territory, I am ready to implement privatization in the territory. On this issue, I would like to invite Mr. Xi Wen to give you all an introduction.”
About privatization, Ouyang Shuo had had an excellent talk with Fan Zhongyan. This time he had deliberately arranged for Zhongyan to introduce the situation, pushing him to the center role so that the core people of the territory could slowly accept his leadership.
Zhongyan clearly read Shuo’s intentions and took the hint to act. Neatly rising, he bowed to salute Ouyang Shuo, saying slowly, “My fellow attendees, I will be presenting to you the main content of privatizing the territory. After yesterday’s great defense, both adequate materials and abundant capital have become available, satisfying the initial needs we have to begin privatizing.
“Therefore, in order to improve production efficiency and improve the economy in response to the expectation of the villagers, our Lord has decided to officially start the process of privatizing the territory. Basically, we want to end the days where everything was distributed uniformly, the core principle is ‘You reap what you sow’.”
“Specifically, the territory will no longer be responsible for the food supply of the villagers, and accordingly, for the work done by the villagers, we will now pay a reasonable wage. At the same time, shops, farms, residences, and fishing boats will be available for purchase. However, strategic resources such as the logging fields, quarries, mines, and salt pans will still be directly controlled by the Lord.
“In order to protect the basic livelihoods of the villagers and to help make the transference from a feudal government to self-sufficiency, and also rewarding the villagers for their hard work so far, the Lord has arranged a basic welfare package for the citizens. There will be a coupon for a 100 units of grain, 20 units for meat, one animal hide, one set of ordinary linen clothes, and a coupon for 20 silver coins.
“The whole process of privatization will be achieved through the establishment of an official bank, which will provide low-interest loans and will be open to all villagers who meet the requirements. The specific rules of the bank will be set up by the bank’s manager after it has been formally established.”
When Fan Zhongyan had finished, his words had created quite a stir. There was a lot of whispering, warmly discussing the generosity of the Lord.
The newly appointed cavalry captain Lin Yi smiled at his big brother, Master Lin Yue, saying, “Big brother, this time you can buy your own dojo and own your own business, ah?”
Lin Yue frowned, saying, ”Don't talk nonsense, I do not have that much money.”
“Big brother, you are worrying too much. The Lord has thought it through, thinking of everyone’s situation. Didn’t you heard what Mr. Xi Wen said? The Lord said he was setting up a bank to provide low interest loans.”
Lin Yue was very wary, answering hesitantly, “But we don’t know about the conditions to access the loans, I am afraid I will not meet the requirements…”
“Big brother, you are really skeptical. Think about it. You are an advanced martial arts instructor. If you cannot get the loan, then pretty much nobody in the whole territory will be able to meet the loan requirements. Everyone will become angry, and privatizing will be useless.” Lin Yi glanced at Shuo several times, apparently more understanding of Ouyang Shuo’s intentions than his brother.
Lin Yue slowly nodded in silent agreement.
After everyone had calmed down, Ouyang Shuo said, “Just now, Mr. Xi Wen has introduced the content of the privatization,” said Shuo, waiting a moment before continuing. “To achieve the goal of privatizing the economy, we must accomplish at least six things.”
“First of all, we have to establish a bank.
Secondly, we need to determine to residents the price and rent of the small homes, shops, and other assets.
Third, we will need to build a series of bakers, butchers, clothing shops, and other shops, to ensure that the villagers can easily purchase the necessities of life.
Fourth, to develop wage levels and price levels in order to pay them their wages.
Fifth, someone will need to be responsible for distribution of the basic welfare package.
Lastly, we need to establish the taxation system.”
“For these six things, we need to discuss them one by one. First, let's have a discussion about the name of the bank, does anyone have any ideas?”
“Simply call it the Shanhai Bank?” Zhao Dexian said tentatively.
“Too casual, not a good name!”
“Hey, I think Wan Tong Bank is a better name, it has momentum!” This was the opinion of Zheng Shanpao.
“Stealing someone else’s name, even worse!”
“We are in the Lianzhou Basin, call it the Lianzhou Bank?” Giu Xiuwen asked confidently.
“It’s narrow and bad!”
Ouyang Shuo shook his head, the names were not satisfactory.
At this time, Cui Yingyu opened her little mouth and said: “I think it can be called the Four Seas Bank, of the same line as 1Shanhai Village, and also brings the meaning of gathering golds from the four seas.”
Shuo’s eyes lit up. Four seas, four treasures, that is simple and low-key, with hidden ambitions. He was very satisfied, he smiled and said, “That is very good, anyone else?”
“Very good, very good!” This time, everyone’s opinion was quite consistent.
So, Shuo directly said, “Okay, it is named so, it will be called the Four Seas Bank. For the first phase of funds for the bank, I am prepared to inject 200 gold coins. As for the manager of the bank, Cui Yingyu will serve there.”
Discerning eyes could clearly see the importance of the Four Seas Bank. It was not only the core of the privatization; in the future it would play the role of the territorial treasury. So the key position in it could only be someone in whom Ouyang Shuo placed extreme trust to. Therefore, everyone was silent. Just looking at Cui Yingyu conveyed deep understanding of what the appointment meant. They could only hope to earn that same level of trust.
Yingyu naturally understood people, and for Ouyang Shuo’s trust, she was very grateful. She was also very happy for the job as manager of the Four Seas Bank. However, she was now serving as Secretary of the Material Reserves Division, and was aware of some jealousy of her. If she also took over the Four Seas Bank manager position, it would no doubt create more hard feelings.
“Big brother, I am afraid my energy is limited, there is much work to do,” she replied gracefully, giving him the room to refuse.
Ouyang Shuo was prepared for this backhand refusal. “You do not have to worry about that. I have arrangements made. You are relieved of your position as Secretary of the Material Reserves Division, and Deputy Secretary Zhao Youfang will temporarily take your place. At the same time, Du Xiaolan is promoted to the Assistant to the Secretary of the Material Reserves Division to help Zhao Youfang in dealing with affairs there.”
Zhao Youfang was still lacking somewhat in qualifications or ability for the position, so Ouyang Shuo did not directly appoint him to the post of Secretary. As for Du Xiaolan, she was one of Yingyu’s apprentices, and had been officially appointed. Shuo had marked her as a reserve talent, and now had the opportunity to boldly promote her to an important job with her experience.
Such a personnel arrangement was something that nobody could understand. After all, no matter how you looked at it, the Material Reserves Division was still more important than the Four Seas Bank.
1Shanhai Village 山海村 and Four Seas Bank 四海钱庄 : Shanhai’s hai carries the meaning of sea in mandarin.