The people suffer from famine because of the multitude of taxes consumed by their superiors. It is through this that they suffer famine.
The people are difficult to govern because of the (excessive) agency of their superiors (in governing them). It is through this that they are difficult to govern.
The people make light of dying because of the greatness of their labours in seeking for the means of living. It is this which makes them think light of dying. Thus it is that to leave the subject of living altogether out of view is better than to set a high value on it.
J H McDonald
When people go hungry,
the governments taxes are too high.
When people become rebellious,
the government has become too intrusive.
When people begin to view death lightly,
wealthy people have too much
which causes others to starve.
Only those who do not cling to their life can save it.
When people are hungry,
It is because their rulers eat too much tax-grain.
Therefore the unruliness of hungry people
Is due to the interference of their rulers.
That is why they are unruly.
The people are not afraid of death,
Because they are anxious to make a living.
That is why they are not afraid of death.
It is those who interfere not with their living
That are wise in exalting life.