Tax and Social Justice
The first half of the course is more theoretical, focusing on the nature of ownership and self-ownership and its implications for how the tax system ought to be arranged. There are roughly three positions we will consider:
- There are no pre-legal property rights: facts about property are merely legal and have no intrinsic moral significance (what moral significance they have is derived from the moral properties of the law).
- Each person has a pre-legal property right over her/his own body, which the law and the tax system ought to respect, but there are no other pre-legal property rights.
- Each person has a pre-legal property right over her/his own body and over certain material good with which s/he has mixed her labour. The law and the tax system ought to respect these property rights.
The second half of the course is more applied, and will focus on the ethics of tax competition. The main issue is whether there is a tension between the democratic right of nation states to decide their tax rates, and the pressure multinational companies exert on nation states through the mechanism of tax competition.