Taxation

Bobbin

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#21
Before you decide this question, one or two other question needs to be answered first.

Does the state have the right to initiate violence, or not? Do property rights derive from the authority of the state, or do they derive from another source? (And if so, what is that source?)
This almost seems to come down to individualism vs. collectivism?

Individualism promotes no violence (I think?) except in self-defence.
Collectivism promotes violence to anything and everything outside of the collective and/or its associations.

Individualism works together through collaboration when value is apparent for all parties involved.
Collectivism works together insofar as it has an opposition of some sort and while it may also only do the things it derives value from as a collective, in reality it would sway towards the most powerful lot within the collective.

So in those sort of terms, individualists would recognize property ownership through mutual agreement (In the same way value is derived). Collectivists would ... well ... I can't actually figure them out :unsure: They kinda want to share it all but in reality don't/can't?

Collectives are however more powerful, obviously, and are built and established by power - and spiral (Self-reinforce) their own power. They can move greater things (Except in cases where individualists collaborate). But they override and coerce the individual.
 
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#22
This almost seems to come down to individualism vs. collectivism?

Individualism promotes no violence (I think?) except in self-defence.
Collectivism promotes violence to anything and everything outside of the collective and/or its associations.

Individualism works together through collaboration when value is apparent for all parties involved.
Collectivism works together insofar as it has an opposition of some sort, and while it may also only do the things it derives value from as a collective in reality it would sway towards the most powerful lot within the collective.

So in those sort of terms, individualists would recognize property ownership through mutual agreement. Collectivists would ... well ... I can't actually figure them out :unsure: They kinda want to share it all but in reality don't/can't?

Collectives are however more powerful, obviously, and are built and established by power - and spiral (Self-reinforce) their own power. They can move greater things. But they override the individual.

The full video is worth the watch, but I think your collectivism/individualism paradigm oversimplifies things.

Note that participation is only effective when individuals have the means to punish others for their failure to reciprocate. It's very easy but grossly unrealistic to claim that your paradigm is all about non-violence and is only interested in working together insofar as there is mutual agreement.

What I'm basically trying to say is that you need to answer my question in such a way that we can see what gives the state the right to dispense justice and to enforce its idea of what justice is. Only then will it be possible to determine something like whether or not it is possible for the state to steal by demanding tribute under threat of various unpleasant outcomes on condition of non-compliance.
 

Bobbin

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#23

The full video is worth the watch, but I think your collectivism/individualism paradigm oversimplifies things.

Note that participation is only effective when individuals have the means to punish others for their failure to reciprocate. It's very easy but grossly unrealistic to claim that your paradigm is all about non-violence and is only interested in working together insofar as there is mutual agreement.

What I'm basically trying to say is that you need to answer my question in such a way that we can see what gives the state the right to dispense justice and to enforce its idea of what justice is. Only then will it be possible to determine something like whether or not it is possible for the state to steal by demanding tribute under threat of various unpleasant outcomes on condition of non-compliance.
I don't think collectivism/individualism is necessarily left/right or liberal/conservative. As you can find examples of both collectivism/individualism in all these labels. That's the part I struggle with. I'm "oversimplifying" it by distancing the incoherent/inconsistent labelling with the fundamental logic of ascribing to either one or the other.

To further corrupt the left/right/liberal/conservative labelling, I'd say it is possible that an individual can ascribe to a multitude of collectivist ideals irrespective of being liberal or conservative. Hell, I don't even know which one I am any more (liberal or conservative), but I would say I tend to be individualist.

Anyway it's just a thought that bothered me when I always associated collectivism with communism/socialism (On the left) but then also looked at the far right and saw equal parts collectivism (Fascism). That's when the left/right labelling broke down for me as logically inconsistent - and the individual/collectivist terminology made more sense or was more consistent/easier to apply. I then started to question when is collectivism ever not dangerous (A threat to someone) and couldn't really come up with an example. Maybe I'm wrong though, I'm a layman with all these things.
 
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#24
I don't think collectivism/individualism is necessarily left/right or liberal/conservative. As you can find examples of both collectivism/individualism in all these labels. That's the part I struggle with. I'm "oversimplifying" it by distancing the incoherent/inconsistent labelling with the fundamental logic of ascribing to either one or the other.

To further corrupt the left/right/liberal/conservative labelling, I'd say it is possible that an individual can ascribe to a multitude of collectivist ideals irrespective of being liberal or conservative. Hell, I don't even know which one I am any more (liberal or conservative), but I would say I tend to be individualist.

Anyway it's just a thought that bothered me when I always associated collectivism with communism/socialism (On the left) but then also looked at the far right and saw equal parts collectivism (Fascism). That's when the left/right labelling broke down for me as logically inconsistent - and the individual/collectivist terminology made more sense or was more consistent/easier to apply. Maybe I'm wrong though, I'm a layman with all these things.
I didn't mean to make this conversation about left and right. I think you are largely right about how confusing the terminology has become.

Maybe the timestamp didn't work, but I was trying to explicitly draw attention to the fact that human social order requires punitive altruism. Now the question is, what is the acceptable way for that punitive altruism to manifest given that you don't get a civilisation without it? A purely voluntary (i.e. non-violent/non-coercive) arrangement isn't viable.
 

Bobbin

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#25
I didn't mean to make this conversation about left and right. I think you are largely right about how confusing the terminology has become.

Maybe the timestamp didn't work, but I was trying to explicitly draw attention to the fact that human social order requires punitive altruism. Now the question is, what is the acceptable way for that punitive altruism to manifest given that you don't get a civilisation without it? A purely voluntary (i.e. non-violent/non-coercive) arrangement isn't viable.
Punishment/consequences (punitive altruism) can occur ethically as well, some examples off the top of my head...

1. Contractual agreement, laying out consequences when breaking contract/voluntarily agreeing to terms.
2. Naturally, the result of the lack of collaboration leads to a destructive environment and so recognizing it is actually selfish to not be selfish over the long term. (I suppose people need a modicum of intelligence to understand this).
3. Socially, bad behaviour leads to bad reputation leads to distrust.

And not only focussing on the stick but the carrot, surely we could employ ethical ways to reward and recognize altruism? I get the impression we too often demonize the rich regardless of their contribution.

Anyway I suppose if it really does take a big stick and a, "Don't care what you think, pay up", attitude to keep civilization running then who am I to argue :/
 

Swa

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#26
1. Yes
2. No

Centralised large scale government is the biggest racket ever invented. Much of its function is actually the result of itself. I'm not saying there shouldn't be governance but the way it is done is actually the most inefficient there can be. It's not just the historic taxes like property or crop taxes but a whole slew of other hidden taxes most people don't even realise. Lots of "government" services have traditionally been provided at little to no cost. The modern taxing system however raises living expenses by so much that it's not possible to do this on a basic wage any more. It's to support the financial system more than anything else.

We only have one obligation in life, to take care of ourselves and any children we might have so as not to be a burden on society. Sadly few in this country remember this.
 

konfab

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Jun 23, 2008
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#27
1) It is theft.
2) It is necessary for a few very basic things that a free market and individuals alone cannot provide. A list of these are the following:

a) The justice and legal system that protect people's natural rights and ensure everyone is equal under law.
b) Protecting the justice system.
c) Protecting the common environment.

a) Is self explanatory, you cannot have a free market if people cannot settle their grievances peacefully.
b) The justice system cannot work if another country decides to project its will on another. This is the justification for a military.
c) It is also unclear to me how you can prevent common property required for society to function (like airspace) from being exploited without a government. This falls under the justice system in part, given how it would prevent a polluting factory from being setup next to people's houses.

This type of thing should be funded from a flat tax that everyone equally has to pay because 1) everyone is equal under the law.

Most governments in the world fail spectacularly at all three of these things because they have been caught up with doing the impossible and providing "free" services.

These rules go for federal governments. I don't have a problem for example with a regional government like a province or a state voting to have an income tax to fund more complex stuff liek social welfare. This comes with the caveat that people can move away from said taxation if they don't want it. Taxation like that isn't theft because you can realistically choose not to pay it.
 
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#28
Punishment/consequences (punitive altruism) can occur ethically as well, some examples off the top of my head...

1. Contractual agreement, laying out consequences when breaking contract/voluntarily agreeing to terms.
2. Naturally, the result of the lack of collaboration leads to a destructive environment and so recognizing it is actually selfish to not be selfish over the long term. (I suppose people need a modicum of intelligence to understand this).
3. Socially, bad behaviour leads to bad reputation leads to distrust.

And not only focussing on the stick but the carrot, surely we could employ ethical ways to reward and recognize altruism? I get the impression we too often demonize the rich regardless of their contribution.

Anyway I suppose if it really does take a big stick and a, "Don't care what you think, pay up", attitude to keep civilization running then who am I to argue :/
I never said that punishment was unethical. :p

But my point is that we have to ask ourselves how our property rights should be structured. Are property rights something granted by the state, or are they supposed to transcend the state? Do we punish each other as individuals, or do we invest in a social institution (law&order) to do the punishing for us?

It's these kinds of questions that will dictate whether or not taxation is theft, imo.
 

LaraC

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#29
Not all types of tax is theft.

The ones I don't like is where you spend money to improve your living conditions and then being taxed on the improvement.
The same goes for money you invest and then being taxed on the gains you derive from it.
 

Bobbin

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#30
I never said that punishment was unethical. :p

But my point is that we have to ask ourselves how our property rights should be structured. Are property rights something granted by the state, or are they supposed to transcend the state? Do we punish each other as individuals, or do we invest in a social institution (law&order) to do the punishing for us?

It's these kinds of questions that will dictate whether or not taxation is theft, imo.
This is difficult for me because, I guess, I don't own any property (land) and am not experienced enough in what it takes to buy it or manage it etc...

We seem to have an inherent territorial nature though. I immediately/naturally understand what is mine and what isn't almost seemingly by instinct. I understand what I relinquish or gain by trade or agreement as well. I am able to express when fairness is apparent or not from my own perspective. And this doesn't change when two or more people enter the equation - we set our boundaries almost organically without even thinking about it. We have our desks and chairs at work, our peripherals etc... that no one else touches without asking.

I don't go waltzing into any fenced off areas or anywhere I don't belong without reason. I know when I see a building it likely belongs to some entity. It is just patently obvious to me. And so I grant their privacy in a natural/instinctual way. I know there is danger if I extend myself into other territory uninvited just as I would challenge those who do the same to me. I know when I buy something it is now mine (Depending on the terms of agreement).

Who grants property rights? Well it's like the market deciding on the value of a stock, it is organic and mutually agreed upon. Contested property used to be decided by war or violence, but money (well if it isn't fake) fixes that problem to some extent. And when we all participate in the same game (Use the same money) it becomes easier to manage - I suppose a cryptocurrency could further enhance that by also tying itself to assets/property/contracts.

I would say that all of the above works until the non-aggression principle is no longer adhered to. That is to say the moment one person is unethical it all breaks down and is very difficult to correct :( So that's a problem ...
 
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#31
I would say that all of the above works until the non-aggression principle is no longer adhered to. That is to say the moment one person is unethical it all breaks down and is very difficult to correct :( So that's a problem ...
Yup. "Original sin" is a bitch. :p
 

Bobbin

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#32
Yup. "Original sin" is a bitch. :p
So the conclusion I derive from that is government is proportional to sin. That is to say we're all a**holes and it shows - basically.

Government is the stick. The church/religion was the carrot but no longer - because we became atheists and gave the middle finger to religion. Government grows as a result - people become increasingly oppressed by the stick. No unified motivation. Increased riots, shootings, tribalism etc... I suppose that's an easy way to look at the western world today. Not sure if correct or once again oversimplified though, but its a fun/curious thought.
 
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#33
So it seems to me that there is widespread (And perhaps even growing) consensus on, and very little argument I've seen against, the position that taxation is theft. Taxation is money or capital coerced (By force/threat) from individuals and legally recognized entities. Income tax is the main culprit here but others including capital gains, VAT etc... probably fall in the same lines?

I'm curious who here agrees with this position.

1. Do you agree that tax is theft?
- If no, how do you justify that position? How is it not coercion in your view?

2. Do you think it is necessary (There are no alternatives) regardless of your answer above?
- If yes, possibly list some of the main points that the free market could not adapt to
- If yes to 1. and 2. - Are you comfortable with an unethical practice to justify the ends?

3. You might say that it is ethically moot considering it is democratically instituted (The majority inadvertently votes for tax by voting for their government - so tough cookie on them). I'd like to hear if this is your position as well and would you vote for a candidate whose active agenda is to minimize government interference and lower taxes?
Taxation is theft :p
 

John Tempus

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#34
Not all types of tax is theft.

The ones I don't like is where you spend money to improve your living conditions and then being taxed on the improvement.
The same goes for money you invest and then being taxed on the gains you derive from it.
Taxing interest gained on investments is a way for the government to penalize you for providing for your future. They penalize you because you choose not to waste money on useless products by circulating your money in the perpetual debt machine.

Taxes on savings/investments may as well be classified as a Sin Tax at this point.
 

Voicy

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#36
My tax here in Norway is more than what my entire gross salary was in RSA.

I happily pay it to keep things as they are.

* Free schooling
* Free university
* Free Medicare
* Free dentistry for kids up to 17
* Decent recycling
* Almost no litter around
* Huge safety net for the unemployed and disabled
* Above means almost no crime
* Decent roads
* Snowplowing of roads every morning
* Civil prisons
* Loads of paid vacation time (gov controlled)
* Mandatory 3rd party insurance for all drivers
* Mandatory EU checks / AA checks for car roadworthiness every 2 years. (not strictly taxes, but just had to throw that in there)
* A bunch of other stuff

The one thing that DOES piss me off is the R5k a year TV license fee. :mad:

But yeah all said and done, we pay a ton in taxes, but it works because the majority are paying taxes to take care of the minority. This system won't stand a snowballs chance in hell if it was implemented in SA without a MUCH stronger work force and much lower dependency load.
 

ArtyLoop

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#37
The problem I have with paying tax (which is necessary), in SA is:
* Paying for lavish lifestyles of politicians who just steal the air we breathe
* Being told repeatedly I am "not wanted" in this country
* Having to pay for corruption of every kind

So in my opinion, right now its legalised robbery
 
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#38
My tax here in Norway is more than what my entire gross salary was in RSA.

I happily pay it to keep things as they are.

* Free schooling
* Free university
* Free Medicare
* Free dentistry for kids up to 17
* Decent recycling
* Almost no litter around
* Huge safety net for the unemployed and disabled
* Above means almost no crime
* Decent roads
* Snowplowing of roads every morning
* Civil prisons
* Loads of paid vacation time (gov controlled)
* Mandatory 3rd party insurance for all drivers
* Mandatory EU checks / AA checks for car roadworthiness every 2 years. (not strictly taxes, but just had to throw that in there)
* A bunch of other stuff

The one thing that DOES piss me off is the R5k a year TV license fee. :mad:

But yeah all said and done, we pay a ton in taxes, but it works because the majority are paying taxes to take care of the minority. This system won't stand a snowballs chance in hell if it was implemented in SA without a MUCH stronger work force and much lower dependency load.
Much like the UK, with pluses and minuses. We have free schooling, mandatory 3rd party insurance, an annual car MoT check, and the TV licence is much the same. Drinks I believe are cheaper in the UK.
And you aren't in the EU!
 

LaraC

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36,396
#39
Taxes on savings/investments may as well be classified as a Sin Tax at this point.
Sin Tax are usually used to prevent activities that end up costing the State in medical care unlike investments that stimulate the economy.
 

Alan

Honorary Master
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Sep 30, 2005
Messages
61,571
#40
My tax here in Norway is more than what my entire gross salary was in RSA.

I happily pay it to keep things as they are.

* Free schooling
* Free university
* Free Medicare
* Free dentistry for kids up to 17
* Decent recycling
* Almost no litter around
* Huge safety net for the unemployed and disabled
* Above means almost no crime
* Decent roads
* Snowplowing of roads every morning
* Civil prisons
* Loads of paid vacation time (gov controlled)
* Mandatory 3rd party insurance for all drivers
* Mandatory EU checks / AA checks for car roadworthiness every 2 years. (not strictly taxes, but just had to throw that in there)
* A bunch of other stuff

The one thing that DOES piss me off is the R5k a year TV license fee. :mad:

But yeah all said and done, we pay a ton in taxes, but it works because the majority are paying taxes to take care of the minority. This system won't stand a snowballs chance in hell if it was implemented in SA without a MUCH stronger work force and much lower dependency load.
SA and practically every other country on the planet.....
 
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