A Tax Dead on Arrival: Classical Liberalism, Inheritance, and Social Mobility
Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, Forthcoming
25 Pages Posted: 31 May 2017 Last revised: 12 Jul 2018
Date Written: May 29, 2017
Historically, it is safe to say that very few laws did as much to stoke inequality as laws touching descents and hereditary transmissions. This paper attempts to see if the classical liberal tradition can endorse inheritance taxation so as to further fair equality of opportunity, as well as to lessen inequality of undeserved wealth. It argues that fair equality of opportunity is a necessary feature of market societies to make sure that they remain competitive. Hence, inheritance taxation is most likely necessary from a classical liberal point of view as an instrument of social mobility to counter notable problems of social immobility, say hereditary vocational stratification, which a system of private property rights creates.
Keywords: Classical Liberalism, Equality of Opportunity, Friedrich Hayek, Inheritance Taxation, John Rawls, Property Rights
JEL Classification: D31, P14, K34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation