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Against the Grain

Chen Kenichi wiped the sweat off his brow. Ever since he joined the consortium of rice farmers, he has had to follow the orders of the chairman. The chairman had a good grasp of economics. Through careful manipulation of the supply, he was able to maintain the price of rice at a premium, barely affordable by the masses. Chen and the other rice farmers didn't agree to the practices, but were resigned to the fact that they knew little of how to run a successful business, and that the chairman probably knew better.
The only problem now was the new memo the chairman had put up in the village square. They were going to raise the price of rice again. Chen and the others were to cultivate a smaller portion of their farmlands in order to stifle supply and jack up the price. This effectively meant an easier life for the farmers: they would have to work less and still be paid what they were already earning.
The villagers would starve. This weighed heavily on Chen's heart. He sought the thoughts of the rest, wanting to find out if what he felt was the result of an over-sensitive conscience. The rice farmers gathered, all of them feeling they were made to betray the villagers. They now had two choices ahead of them: it was the safe life or the hard life.
Which should they choose?

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