This is the first book to give a collective treatment of philosophical issues relating to tax. The tax system is central to the operation of states and to the ways in which states interact with individual citizens. Taxes are used by states to fund the provision of public goods and public services, to engage in direct or indirect forms of redistribution, and to mould the behaviour of individual citizens. As the contributors to this volume show, there are a number of pressing and thorny philosophical issues relating to the tax system, and these issues often connect in fascinating ways with foundational questions regarding property rights, public justification, democracy, state neutrality, stability, political psychology, and other moral and political issues. Many of these deep and fascinating philosophical questions about tax have not received as much sustained attention as they clearly merit.
The aim of advancing the debate about tax in political philosophy has both general and more specific aspects, ranging across both over-arching issues regarding the tax system as a whole and more specific issues relating to particular forms of tax policy. Thinking clearly about tax is not an easy task, as much that is of central importance is missed if one proceeds at too great a level of abstraction, and issues of conceptual and normative importance often only come sharply into focus when viewed against real-world questions of implementation and feasibility. Serious philosophical work on the tax system will often therefore need to be interdisciplinary, and so the discussion in this book includes a number of scholars whose expertise spans across neighbouring disciplines to philosophy, including political science, economics, public policy, and law.
About the Author
Martin O'Neill, Senior Lecturer in Political Philosophy, University of York, Shepley Orr, Lecturer in Civil, Environmental, and Geomatic Engineering, University College London
Martin O'Neill is Senior Lecturer in Political Philosophy in the Department of Politics at the University of York. He was previously been Hallsworth Research Fellow in Political Economy at the University of Manchester and, before that, Research Fellow in Philosophy and Politics at St John's College, Cambridge. He was educated at Harvard University (PhD in Philosophy) and Balliol College, Oxford (BA in PPE; BPhil in Philosophy). His work has appeared in journals such as Philosophy & Public Affairs and the Journal of Political Philosophy, and he is co-editor (with Thad Williamson) of Property-Owning Democracy: Rawls and Beyond (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012). He is a Commissioning Editor of Renewal: the Journal of Social Democracy.
Shepley Orr is Lecturer in the Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering in the UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences, and an affiliate member of the UCL Centre for Philosophy, Justice and Health. He previously worked in the Department of Economics at the University of East Anglia. He was educated at Vassar College (BA in Psychology) and at Balliol College, Oxford (DPhil in Sociology). His work has appeared in journals spanning a number of disciplines, including Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE), Kyklos, Transportation Research, and the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty. He frequently consults for a range of public and private bodies on issues relating to decision-making, benefit valuation and policy formation, with a focus on transport and health.
Table of Contents
Introduction, Martin O'Neill and Shepley Orr
Part I. On the Tax System: Normative and Conceptual Questions
1. What Political Philosophy Should Learn from Economics about Taxation, Alan Hamlin
2. Welfarism, Libertarianism, and Fairness in the Economic Approach to Taxation, Marc Fleurbaey
3. Striving for the Middle Ground: Taxation, Justice and the Status of Private Rights, Geoffrey Brennan
4. Taxing or Taking: Property Rhetoric and the Justice of Taxation, Laura Biron
5. Libertarianism and Taxation, Peter Vallentyne
6. Tax Policy and Fair Inequality, Alexander Cappelen and Bertil Tungodden
7. Beggar Your Neighbour (Or Why You Do Want to Pay Your Taxes), Veronique Munoz-Darde and M. G. F. Martin
Part II. Tax Policy and Forms of Taxation: Philosophical Issues
8. The Case for a Progressive Benefits Tax, Barbara Fried
9. Moral Objections to Inheritance Tax, Stuart White
10. The Politics of Land Value Taxation, Iain McLean
11. The State and Tax Competition: a Normative Perspective, Peter Dietsch
12. Global Taxation and Accounting Arrangements: Some Normatively Desirable and Feasible Policy Recommendations, Gillian Brock and Rachel McMaster