Let us next inquire as to the relation of the cost of rice to the rate of wages in
- Let us next inquire as to the relation of the cost of rice to the rate of wages in
- 서울 : 獨立新聞社, 1896
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(continued from last issue)
Let us next inquire as to the relation of the cost of rice to the rate of wages in Korea. A measure of rice today is worth fourteen cents silver, and will last one person two days. The average monthly wage in Korea is difficult to estimate but it cannot he fur from five dollars for the great mass of the people. It appears then that $2.10, out of $5.00, goes for rice alone, or over two fifths. That sum will buy forty pounds of American flour laid down in Seoul. This would give one and a third pounds a day, or two and two thirds pounds for each Korean measure of flour, which is about what it would weigh, so we see that so far as quantity is concerned a Korean could live on American wheat flour as cheaply as on Korean rice. ´1 his becomes still more evident when we consider that a measure of rice when ground into flour will not till the measure. As to the nutriment to be gotten from the two grains there is probably little difference. It should be noted that indigestion is the most common of Korean complaints and it probably arises from the fact that rice if bolted rapidly is not readily digested unless it be cooked much more than Koreans are accustomed to cook it. It should be thoroughly mastieated, but no one can witch a Korean eat rice and then aver that he masticates it all. If, then, a Korean could live on American wheat flour as cheaply as on his native rice, he should be able to live on his native wheat for half the sum at most Notice again that he would have a more wholcsome food than tie bolted flour for he would have whit we call graham flour which is confessedly more wholesome than the pure wheat flour.
We learn from a man who has traveled widely in Korea that in many places in Ham Kyung province in the north, wheat is raised instead of rice and that one man will easily raise thirty, forty or fifty bags, and that these farmers are thoroughly well-to-do compared with the rice farmers. It is a curious fact too that the provinces of Chnlla and Kyung Sang are called the garden of Korea because of the great quantities of rice raised there and yet in truth they are the most poverty-stricken provinces in the land. Other causes are doubtless at work but we do not believe that the raising of rice will produce as much or as good food as wheat, nor as much revenue for the government.
Where do we find the strongest, bravest, most manly Koreans? It is in the north where they eat millet, potatoes and wheat. How is it in China? The best physiques are found in the north where one out of five can afford to eat rice.
One more consideration. Korea will never have good cart roads so long as they have to pass through rice growing districts. Japan may be cited as an argument to the contrary but even there one does not have to go for from the main lines of road before he finds himself in the mud. Rice fields are an enemy to drainage. It is a continual fight to keep the water from flowing away, and without good drainage good roads are impossible except at fabulous expense. We are not so rash as to think that any such revolu tion could be accomplished in this generation nor perhaps in the next but the time wil! certainly come sooner or later when nature will have to be wooed less arduously than she is when rice is the suit.