It is worthwhile to think thoughts through to their logical conclusion, e.g. tax reform. What does a tax system look like that is both socially just and ecologically accurate and guarantees a minimum income for all citizens? A century and a half ago, John Stuart Mill considered only the taxation of consumption to be socially just. What a nonsense to tax performance, whether that of a worker or a manager – performance benefits the community. But by consuming goods, the total amount of which is always and necessarily limited, each of us limits the consumption of his fellow human beings. However, a progressive consumption tax is only conceivable with today’s technical means. Ten years ago, I proposed such a system in “Wohlstand und Armut” (Metropolis). It will never be realized in this logically uncompromising form, but the direction is clearly marked out. Only in one point did I not go far enough. Herman Daly, the great American pioneer of ecology, went a decisive step further. It is not possible, he argued, to curb the consumption of resources through taxes, but only through capping, i.e. through steadily decreasing upper limits, e.g. for the consumption of coal, oil, gas etc. (published as paperback and Amazon Kindle edition). See:
No more immediate, no more elementary private property can be thought of than that which constitutes my own body. If I am put in chains, imprisoned, or my normal sphere of activity severely restricted, I lose the right to this innate property – my liberty is annulled. Proceeding further on this way you transform free people into slaves, by depriving them of the right to dispose of their own being. Continue reading Private Property – does it create free men or lead to revolutions and serfdom?
To leave nature to our children and grandchildren undestroyed by the ever more weighty ecological footprint of present generations – within Europe, this demand meets with broad understanding. Nowadays there is little doubt that the steady increase in the consumption of resources wreaks havoc on the world’s natural resources, even as the residuals of industrial production tend to pollute air, water and soil to an ever-increasing worldwide scale. Continue reading Good Governance: Let it be ecosocial!
Prospects for fiscal action directed against the excessive concentration of income and assets in view of defending and generating common wealth.
This is an abstract summarizing and enlarging the main theses in the last chapter of Wohlstand und Armut, Metropolis, Septembre 2010 (Wealth and Poverty) Continue reading New Fiscalism