On Taxation in General

  • Paul Leroy-Beaulieu
Part of the International Economic Association Series book series (IEA)


The public domain may well in the future furnish the public treasury with more abundant receipts than it does now, but taxes will long, if not forever, remain the principal source of public revenue. Hence the study of tax questions is perhaps the most important part of the science of public finance. What is the best tax system, not only for the exchequer but for society itself? What are the consequences of various taxes for the fortunes of the taxpayers and for the relative position of the various classes of the people? What is the effect of taxation, not only on the citizens’ material output, but on their very freedom and way of life? All these are so many questions which must be probed and to which it is desirable that we should find an answer.


Public Work Public Debt Insurance Premium General Cost Government Employee 
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  1. 2.
    E. J. Ménier, Théorie et application de l’impôt sur le capital Paris, 1874.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The late Duc Victor de Broglie, in Le libre échange et l’impôt (published posthumously by his son in 1879) has forcefully sustained this theory of taxes representing general production costs: “The State is the entrepreneur of the general costs of social production; the State is, as it were, the trustee of all producers.” The late Duke adds that “state expenditures are in point of fact the general costs of national production.” The author concludes, wrongly, that taxes should be levied on the nation’s capital, by way of indirect taxation. (Footnote to the third edition.)Google Scholar
  3. *.
    This passage paraphrases a section of Book II, Chapter IV, of the Wealth of Nations. See Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations (Cannan Edition), 1925, p. 327. (Editor’s Note).Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    J. R. McCulloch, Taxation and the Funding System, 1844, pp. 10–11.Google Scholar

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© International Economic Association 1958

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Leroy-Beaulieu

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