We probably know the answer to that one, but in raising the question The Guardian’s Gary Younge – always a perceptive commentator – misses out on an important aspect of the question: we, the people, want democratically accountable states in order to raise money and spend it on our behalves to achieve a variety of collective goals (education, health, justice systems, and other underpinnings of a modern economy). Without taxes, the state is forced to adopt other financing methods, including printing money or taking over the commanding heights of the economy. The huge problem facing states at this stage in late capitalism lies with the refusal on the part of Capital to contribute to state coffers: it is in the field of taxation that nation states have most significantly lost out on their sovereignty. Younge clearly accepts this loss in other areas, though he fails to spell it out in the context of tax sovereignty:
The limited ability of national governments to pursue any agenda that has not first been endorsed by international capital and its proxies is no longer simply the cross they have to bear; it is the cross to which we have all been nailed. The nation state is the primary democratic entity that remains. But given the scale of neoliberal globalisation it is clearly no longer up to that task.
Read Younge’s article here.