History and Taxation: The Dialectical Relationship between Taxation and the Political Balance of Power

In this book, the historical relationship between taxation and the political balance of power is investigated. In addition to a unique overview of historical iconic tax events, with famous examples like the Eighty Years’ War between the Netherlands and Spain, the Glorious Revolution, the Boston Tea Party and the French Revolution, it contains an analysis of the way in which Nazis and communists abused existing tax systems to achieve their goals in the 20th century.

Why this book?

In this book, the historical relationship between taxation and the political balance of power is investigated. The main goal is to test the hypothesis that a dialectical relationship exists between taxation and the political balance of power.

Taxes can be used by those who are in power to maintain their power and, if possible, extend it. Then, there can be a counter-reaction, leading to a synthesis with a new balance of power with new taxes. The new tax system can, for example, initiate another reaction with political consequences. This presumed dialectical relationship is tested against experiences in 26 states, based on a unique overview of historical iconic tax events, with famous examples like the Eighty Years’ War between the Netherlands and Spain, the Glorious Revolution, the Boston Tea Party and the French Revolution. Most of the iconic tax events are related to the famous principle of “no taxation without representation”. This was first understood as “no taxation without consent of the elite” and later evolved towards “no taxation without a formal law adopted by the parliament”.

Recently, there have been signs that many people no longer recognize themselves in politics in general and in national parliaments in particular. This can lead to developments that threaten the stability of the actual balance of power, likely with new consequences for taxation. This book provides abundant proof of how dictators have abused tax systems to suppress (presumed) enemies of the regime and enforce societal reforms. In the 20th century, there have been notorious examples of these kinds of repressive taxes in national-socialist and communist regimes. There have also been iconic tax events that supported democracy and the emancipation of citizens. However, “democratic taxes” sometimes also lead to threats to democracy, e.g. if these taxes cause conflicts with the equality principle or do not sufficiently respect the rights of minorities or fundamental rights.

Part 1 of this book is the General Report, with overall conclusions. Part 2 contains seven thematic reports, and Part 3 contains 26 national reports.

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This book is part of the EATLP International Tax Series

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Contributor(s)

Hrvoje Arbutina, William B. Barker, Funda Başaran Yavaşlar, Gianluigi Bizioli, Radim Boháč, Rita Calçada Pires, Marta Carmo, Peter Clarke, Dominic de Cogan, Katherine Cousins, Emmanuel de Crouy-Chanel, Gerardine Doyle, Edgar Drozdowski, Sonja Dusarduijn, Harald Espeli, Peter Essers, Katarina Fast Lappalainen, Maria Cecilia Fregni, Stjepan Gadzo, Ricardo García Antón, Jacob Graff Nielsen, Fatma Gül Karagöz, Gülsen Güneş, Johannes Heinrich, Sigrid Hemels, Petra Hrubá Smržová (Jánošíková), Emer Hunt, Gisela Hürlimann, Leila Juanto, Peter Koerver Schmidt, Svetislav V. Kostić, Ziemowit Kukulski, Esko Linnakangas, César Martinez Sánchez, Yuri Matsubara, Peter Melz, Sevtap Metin, Janis Neimanis, Christine Osterloh-Konrad, Petros Pantazopoulos, Bruno Peeters, Michaela Pitzer, Dejan Popović, Michal Radvan, Pieter de Reu, Jozef Sábo, István Simon, Wolfgang Schön, Korinna Schönhärl, Małgorzata Sęk, Rik Smet, Chantal Stebbings, Miroslav Štrkolec, Anna Vartašová, Kim van de Velden, Helle Vogt, Michał Wilk, Onno Ydema, Mauro Zamboni, Natasa Zunic Kovacevik.