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Can There Be a 'Just Tax'?


 A. The Just Tax and the Just Price

For centuries before the science of economics was developed, men searched for criteria of the “just price.” Of all the innumerable, almost infinite possibilities among the myriads of prices daily determined, what pattern should be considered as “just”? Gradually it came to be realized that there is no quantitative criterion of justice that can be objectively determined.

Suppose that the price of eggs is 50¢ per dozen, what is the “just price”? It is clear, even to those (like the present writer) who believe in the possibility of a rational ethics, that no possible ethical philosophy or science can yield a quantitative measure or criterion of justice.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Ed Price
Entered on:

No, there can never be a just tax. Why not? Because if you volunteer - truly and freely volunteer - then it is not a tax. It is a donation or contribution.

"Tax" has to do with forcefully taking from others something that does not belong to you. The fact that you only take limited amounts simply shows your wisdom (or shrewdness) in letting the slaves retain something so that they can revive after the taxation. When they revive, they will be able to be taxed again another day, and you will get more.

No taxation is just. Not even if you truly tax others for their own good. The closest you might come to a just tax is, after the fact, the slaves might see that you have honestly and sincerely done good for them, and they might consider the tax to be a voluntary contribution to you and your system of taxation. But it still was not just in the first place.

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