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TAXATION IN UTOPIA

Barbara Goodwin
Utopian Studies
Vol. 19, No. 2 (2008), pp. 313-331
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20719904
Page Count: 19
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TAXATION IN UTOPIA
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Abstract

Utopias of the right and the left offer different justifications for taxation and propose different tax systems. Here, utopian proposals are analysed and evaluated from two perspectives: the "ideal" form of taxation (visible, equitable, and non-avoidable), and the democratic perspective (would people willingly consent to it?). Pre-taxation, favoured by left-wing utopias, raises problems from a democratic standpoint while right-wing utopias assert that taxation must be voluntary but are over-confident that "voluntary government financing" would provide a safety-net for poorer members of society. In the conclusion, I argue that there is more at stake than the left/right dispute. The different attitudes to utopian taxation are indicative of markedly different conceptions of society

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