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Evening up the score

12 October 2016 / Ken Richards
Issue: 4571 / Categories: Comment & Analysis

A personal view of the way in which the tax system has tackled the issues of social inequality and environmental protection and some suggestions for future policy changes.


  • Without positive measures inequality tends to increase.
  • Do companies subscribe to environmental protection?
  • Will the new government target wealth inequalities and environmental damage?
  • Would higher tax rates discourage entrepreneurial activity?
  • Inheritance tax should be replaced with a gift tax on the recipients.

Two of the greatest social problems facing western societies today are inequality of income and wealth and the degradation of the environment. On the first according to economist Thomas Piketty (Capital in the Twenty-First Century) there is often an inexorable force at work which drives even greater inequality unless deliberate policy measures are taken to offset this tendency. On the second issue the scandal concerning Volkswagen’s attempt to cheat environmental tests on its diesel vehicles brought into sharp focus the idea that not all companies...

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