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Tax and Justice


Taxation and Justice : A classical Liberal Perspective – Petra Orogvanyiova

From taxation to Justice – Pierre Bessard

Taxation and Justice – Daniel Pellerin

Taxation and Justice : A classical Liberal Perspective by Petra Orogvanyiova

Abstract: We attempt to present a classical liberal perspective on the subject of taxation and justice. We start by reviewing the development of the notion of justice over time and across various schools of thought. We then proceed to examine John Rawls’ theory of justice and its policy implications and economic theory of optimal taxation. After finding both approaches unsatisfactory, we defend a libertarian stand on the issue of justice. The main result of our reflections are three criteria which we afterwards use to examine normatively di¤erent ways of taxation. We conclude by saying that current tax systems satisfy neither of these criteria and deserve being changed.

From taxation to Justice – Pierre Bessard

Abstract: Taxation has become one of the key policy challenges in most advanced countries. Demographic trends reinforce the prospective threat of increased pressure on taxpayers to fund existing welfare programs, while institutional competition between European countries and from other regions plays an increasingly decisive role in keeping governments in check. Central and Eastern European countries adopting proportional taxation systems have attracted additional investment from elsewhere and generated incentive structures conducive to entrepreneurial risk-taking. Other regions such as Asia and the United States enjoy marginally superior economic growth than many parts of Europe thanks to a less penalizing environment for production. Partly as a result, government debt – which may be viewed as deferred taxes – has reached new highs in many countries.

Taxation and Justice – Daniel Pellerin

Abstract: However much may set apart Hobbes and Locke, these two progenitors of our modern intellectual tradition are in full agreement on one cardinal point, namely “that civil government is the proper remedy for the inconveniencies of the state of nature, which must certainly be great.” For anyone impressed with the arguments of these two and many other great thinkers, taxes must appear as more than “what we pay for civilized society”, as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., famously put it. Taxes are what we pay for living in any kind of lasting peace and security at all. How far the scope of legitimate state action might extend, what revenue might be necessary to sustain it, and how benefits and burdens are to be distributed, are matters of conviction and debate; what is certain, however, is that the requisite expenses will not be trivial, and hence that the serious question of just taxation cannot be wished away. Even for so staunch an erstwhile libertarian as Richard Epstein, “The sad truth is that even the limited government called for by laissez-faire is a large and complex undertaking” – and thus an expensive one. Nor is it at all self-evident, as none less than Adam Smith reminds us, that taxes deserve to be associated with servitude; on the contrary, proud and self-confident citizens ought to consider their payment of taxes “a badge, not of slavery, but of liberty”, denoting that while they are indeed subject to government, they are their own masters rather than someone else’s property.

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