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Nick Shaxson ■ New tools for tax policies and human rights

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HrightsFrom Righting Finance:

The connection between civil and political rights and tax policy is so strong, that in a 2014 report on tax policy and human rights (“the report”), the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights in 2014 said that the link runs both ways. That is, civil and political rights bear consequences for tax policy. But the formation of accountable states is closely tied to the emergence of taxation. And where tax abuse and unfair tax practices erode confidence in government the environment will be less prone to foster the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs.

A new publication by RightingFinance centers on the implications of civil and political rights for tax policy. The publication is the third in a series of advocacy tools on tax policy and human rights with the aim of assisting education and dissemination of the standards on tax policy and human rights contained in the above-mentioned report. Each of the advocacy tools addresses normative foundations of the rights in question, their applications to tax policy – including explanations and references to practical examples – and guiding questions for reflection.

Download the full publication in English and in Spanish.

Also see our Tax Justice and Human Rights page.

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Comments • 1

  • AvatarDavid Harold Chester
    June 19, 2016 - 4:41 pm

    There is a serious need for greater public awareness and use of these new tools. We all need to properly understand what taxation does to the progress of the macro-economy (and since there are different kinds of taxes, we need to see the variation on the effects of each kind). But to write about these tools (in this blog) without giving sufficient detail about what is actually needed (and not yet available) and how to change and improve this situation, is most unsatisfactory. To learn about the effects of taxation is to firstly learn about how the WHOLE social system works (interacts), and it is unfair to think that everyone can do this. Not even the experts in macroeconomics seem to be capable of it, or they would not be so different in their opinions regarding tax policy!

    I would like to present a way that our social system can more easily and completely logically modeled and understood. We must begin by taking certain things as axiomatic truths and then by making certain working assumptions, that can later be changed. Then having defined our variables at the subsequent stage, some progress in this understanding can be made. This is the approach used in my book on theoretical macroeconomics. I wish to see if you can think in my terms before taking it more seriously.

    My first question is how many different KINDS of ways does the whole of our society manage to exchange its goods, services, access rights, valuable documents, treasury bills, etc. There are many myriads of these exchanges, but the number of KINDS of them is much more limited. Similarly I have a second related question about between which kinds of role-playing agents or entities, do these exchanges take place? The answer is even less in number that the relatively small number found from the first question. In my model of the functioning of the whole social system, the answers to these two questions are 19 and 6 respectively. A students model for thinking about it can be viewed in my paper SSRN 2600103, freely available on the www or in greater detail in my new book “Consequential Macroeconomics”, for which you are welcome to write to me, and to receive, an e-copy (for free).

    With the knowledge contained in these sources, will we the general thinking public, be able to use a tool for deciding on the usefulness of the various different types of taxation regimes.

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