20160413 Variations on a theme of Adam Smith

Re: 20160413 Variations on a theme of Adam Smith

Postby tahanson43206 » Sun Jul 16, 2017 4:58 pm

20170716 Pages 938 to ?

Book Five

Of the Revenue of the Sovereign or Commonwealth

Chapter 2

Of the Sources of the General or Public Revenue of the Society

Article 4

Taxes which, it is intended, should fall indifferently upon every different Species of Revenue

This section: Taxes on Consumable Commodities

This section runs from page 938-980.

To do it justice, and because the last page of 1028 is close at hand, I've decided to consider subsections.

Today, the opening sequence runs from page 938-939. The topic Smith considers is of necessity vs luxury, in relation to the appropriateness of taxation.

To my eye, and considering the practices I observe in the United States in 2017, it seems to me that Smith is generous in his consideration of what is a necessity.

On the other hand, I agree with his suggestion, that a linen shirt or leather shoes are "necessities" by custom.

In the United States of 2017, my observation is that sales tax is forgiven for foods and non-alcoholic beverages, but imposed for clothing of all kinds.

In some jurisdictions, there exists a tax on products for feminine hygiene. As recently as February of 2017, a bill was introduced for consideration by the Ohio House of Representatives to exempt certain hygiene products from sales tax.

From my reading of Smith, I would hazard a guess that he would agree with the proposal.

***
Earlier in "The Wealth of Nations" Mr. Smith discussed various aspects of the herring trade in England and Scotland.

In his 2008 book "Hot, Flat and Crowded" Thomas L. Friedman discussed the herring fisheries on page 69.

Friedman quotes Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope:

Begin Quotation:
Northern Europe was taken into capitalism by the cod fishermen of the North Atlantic in the seventeenth century.
End Quotation.

While Pope's observation was offered in the context of human exploitation of biological commons, I consider the discussion of availability of new and abundant supplies of protein to be of interest as an enabler for development of what became the Industrial Revolution.

Mr. Smith mentions cod on page 25, in the context of its use as money in Newfoundland.

(th)
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