Neoliberal Social Justice and Taxation

Forthcoming, Social Philosophy and Policy, 2022

21 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2021 Last revised: 3 Aug 2021

See all articles by Nick Cowen

Nick Cowen

School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lincoln

Date Written: July 1, 2021

Abstract

Liberal egalitarians argue that the state is justified in taxing members of a political community to achieve distributive justice and ensure political equality and regime stability. This involves an uneasy compromise between equality and efficiency, a compromise that many argue has recently been undermined by the growth of unchecked wealth and income inequality. This paper argues that there also exists a trade-off between selecting fair processes for taxation and aiming for particular distributive outcomes. The way people accumulate wealth, and the way states tax often matters more than distributive outcomes. Policymakers must allow for the fair assessment of tax liabilities, avoid excessive enforcement costs and prevent political actors from using tax systems to achieve their partial ends. Recognising these considerations both justifies a systematic scheme of taxation while constraining the mechanisms for collecting revenue. I justify this position using comparative analysis which I contrast with the conceptual intuitionistic approach associated with egalitarianism.

Keywords: realism, wealth inequality, wealth tax, knowledge problem, incentive problem, comparative analysis

JEL Classification: H20, B53

Suggested Citation

Cowen, Nick, Neoliberal Social Justice and Taxation (July 1, 2021). Forthcoming, Social Philosophy and Policy, 2022, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3751666

Nick Cowen (Contact Author)

School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lincoln ( email )

Lincoln LN2
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://ulincoln.academia.edu/NickCowen

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