Power & Market

JLS: Taxation and Forced Labor—The Two Bodies of the Citizen in Modern Political Theology

New from the Journal of Libertarian Studies:

ABSTRACT: This article will show that there is nothing innocent about taxation. While coercion had various and rather ruthless forms in premodern times, with the birth of the state, the expansion of taxation has increasingly become the repudiation of a visible brutality. The Enlightenment period marks the beginning of the fiscal state, an impeccable marriage of modern rationality and new forms of control. Tax imposition rendered political exploitation less painful, but at the same time, it inaugurated an expansion of dominion over individuals and society unparalleled in history. Taxation was the decisive cause of Rome’s downfall. After almost two millennia, Western civilization could implode again and for similar reasons, but the veil of ignorance of modernity will render it impossible for people to comprehend how it happened and why.

Read the full article in the Journal of Libertarian Studies. 

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