Baojia Distributed Defense System in China

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"One was the baojia system 保甲制度 of local militias which Chancellor Wang invented. This system radically devolved military affairs and law enforcement, and assigned greater responsibilities to the most local level and to the lowest ranks, and it met with resounding success where it was implemented. (When it was reintroduced during the Qing Dynasty, however, it met with far less.) Under the baojia system, ten families would be organised into a bao, and one family would be given a wooden placard designating them as the baozhang 保長 (the bao captain). This placard would rotate amongst the families on a regular basis, theoretically ensuring that each family was mutually responsible to all the others. Chancellor Wang wanted to reduce the Song Dynasty’s dependence on mercenaries, but this system was practically distributist in the way it delegated authority – tasks were directed to the lowest competent level of authority, and government was directly involved only in cases that required the organisation of a large number of bao. This system, the way it was originally designed, was very much in line with the social doctrine of subsidiarity; it also located the primary unit of social organisation as the family." (