The Myth of Ownership: Taxes and Justice

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 ...
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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.
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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

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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195176568
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/18/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 811,641
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Liam Murphy teaches law and philosophy at New York University. He is the author of Moral Demands in Nonideal Theory. Thomas Nagel teaches law and philosophy at New York University. He is the author of Moral Questions, Equality and Partiality, and The Last Word.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Traditional Criteria of Tax Equity
1. Political Morality in Tax Policy: Fairness
2. Vertical Equity: The Distribution of Tax Burdens
3. The Benefit Principle
4. Ability to Pay: Endowment
5. Ability to Pay: Equal Sacrifice
6. Ability to Pay as an Egalitarian Idea
7. The Problem of Everyday Libertarianism
8. Horizontal Equity
Chapter 3. Economic Justice ni Political Theory
1. Political Legitimacy
2. Consequentialism and Deontology
3. Public Goods
4. Benefits for Individuals
5. Efficiency and Utilitarianism
6. Distributive Justice, Fairness, and Priority to the Worst Off
7. Equality of Oppotunity
8. Legitamite Means and Individual Responsibility
9. Rewards and Punishments
10. Liberty and Libertarianism
11. The Moral Significance of the Market
12. Personal Motives and Political Values: The Moral Division of Labor
13. Conclusion
Chapter 4. Redistribution and Public Provision
1. Efficiency and Judgement
2. Paying for Public Goods
3. Which Goods are Public?
4. Redistribution
5. Transfer or Provision?
6. Public Duties
7. Conclusion
Chapter 5. The Tax Base
1. Efficiency and Justice
2. Outcomes, not Burdens
3. The Consumption Base and Fairness to Savers
4. Fairness as Equal Liberty
5. Desert and the Accumulation of Capital: The "Common Pool"
6. Wealth and Welfare
7. Wealth and Opportunity
8. Endowment and the Value of Autonomy
9. Exclusions and Credits
10. Transitions
Chapter 6. Progressivity
1. Graduation, Progression, Incidence, and Outcomes
2. Assessment of Outcomes
3. Optimal Taxation
4. Tax Reform
Chapter 7. Inheritance
1. The "Death Tax"
2. The Tax Base of the Donee
3. No Deduction for Donors
4. Details and Objections
5. Equal Opportunity and Transfer Taxation
6. Conclusion
Chapter 8. Tax Discrimination
1. Justifying Differential Treatment
2. An Example: The Marriage Penalty
3. Incentive Effects and Arbitrariness
Chapter 9. Conclusion: Politics
1. Theory and Practice
2. Justice and Self-Interest
3. Plausible Policies
4. Effective Moral Ideas
Notes
References
Index

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2002

    About THE MYTH OF OWNERSHIP

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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