The Myth of Ownership: Taxes and Justice

The Myth of Ownership: Taxes and Justice

by Liam B. Murphy, Thomas Nagel
     
 

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In a capitalist economy, taxes are the most important instrument by which the political system puts into practice a conception of economic and distributive justice. Taxes arouse strong passions, fueled not only by conflicts of economic self-interest, but by conflicting ideas of fairness. Taking as a guiding principle the conventional nature of private property,

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Overview

In a capitalist economy, taxes are the most important instrument by which the political system puts into practice a conception of economic and distributive justice. Taxes arouse strong passions, fueled not only by conflicts of economic self-interest, but by conflicting ideas of fairness. Taking as a guiding principle the conventional nature of private property, Murphy and Nagel show how taxes can only be evaluated as part of the overall system of property rights that they help to create. Justice or injustice in taxation, they argue, can only mean justice or injustice in the system of property rights and entitlements that result from a particular regime. Taking up ethical issues about individual liberty, interpersonal obligation, and both collective and personal responsibility, Murphy and Nagel force us to reconsider how our tax policy shapes our system of property rights.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The thoughts in this book deserve examination, especially the views of Nagel and Murphy on the self-interest each taxpayer reasonably has in the social justice purchased by hard-earned money....[They] offer ideas that would improve the national debate."—David Cay Johnston,New York Times Book Review

"Murphy and Nagel claim that pretax income is a myth, and, as such, has no moral significance.... The Myth of Ownership significantly increases the sophistication of the discussion [fairness in taxation]."—Michigan Law Review

Their research is impressive, their reasoning precise.... should be on every public economics reading list."—Journal of Economic Issues

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195150162
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
04/11/2002
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 5.70(h) x 0.80(d)

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