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In the past, the king and the state were not regarded as separate entities. The king was an absolute being, and this made kings easily succumb to corruption. The kings of Joseon were also considered absolute beings, but they did not rule over the country under their own discretions, but rather in observation of the laws at all times. For anything that was not stipulated in the laws, the kings referred to the prior cases that had been recorded. Because the king and the state were viewed as one and the same, the royal family’s finances and the state finances were often mixed. However, in the case of Joseon, the two were maintained separately, and even the royal family’s finances were executed according to the prescribed procedures and objectives. Furthermore, records were maintained on the businesses of the royal family so that they were not for personal gain, but were national businesses that benefitted and were in the interest of everyone.



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