A Way to Raise what Money shall be Necessary,

with less Expence, and more Equality than can be done by continuing any one, all, or any Select Number of those Ways, or such as those which are now in use; Humbly Offered to the Consideration of both Houses.

[London: 1690?] Stock Code: 135162

Anticipating Adam Smith's tax maxims

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First edition of this uncommon anonymous pamphlet, proposing a means of raising five million pounds a year in revenue through a single tax. The pamphlet "virtually anticipates all Adam Smith's maxims in his dicta for good taxes" (Walker, Perspectives on the History of Economic Thought, vol. I., p. 8), and the author proposes to replace the various means of gaining revenue with a single, "frugal, expedite and certain" way which would impact on all payers equally. This would take the form of a wealth tax of 3 on every citizen worth over 5, with punishments for those who attempted to diminish their stated wealth. Although the pamphlet cannot be seen to have had any noticeable impact, it is of interest for the ideas expressed, including criticizing the prevalent indirect taxation on salt, tobacco, leather and other necessities as hitting the poor harder than the rich. It argues that the proposed tax would result in a proper estimation of the nation's wealth, and that the only objection is that in making known each individual's true wealth, it will be harder for some to get credit and consequently hinder trade, which they dismiss. Finally, they outline the benefits of "justice or equality; thence peace at home. 500000l. by the year at saved if we raise 5 millions. An yearly view of, whether we thrive or not" against the costs of "an imaginary hindrance to trade by hindering cheating. I think this balance fairly offered to your judgements". ESTC records copies in 11 institutions, and it is unrecorded at auction.

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Small quarto (204 x 156 mm), pp. 8. Disbound pamphlet.


With two small wormholes, first and last page lightly soiled, bottom edge untrimmed. A very good copy.


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