Re: (OPE-L) taxation and public finance in Marxian literature

From: Ernesto Screpanti (screpanti@UNISI.IT)
Date: Wed May 12 2004 - 06:55:33 EDT

It might be useful to recall that Marx and Engels, in the Critique of the
Gotha Program, proposed  a social policy of public expenditure "for the
common satisfaction of needs, such as schools, health services etc. From
the outset this part  [of the total product of society] grows considerably
in comparison with present-day society and grows in proportion as the new
society develps." In the Manifesto  Marx and Engels also proposed a fiscal
policy based on  "a heavy progressive or graduated income tax". Both
measures are envisaged as part of a process of building of a communist
It is interesting to note that Engels intepreted progressive taxation as
embodying the principle "from each according to his ability". On the other
hand, the public provision of goods at low or zero price allocates
resources on the ground of the principle "to each according to his needs".

I deal with these problems in my recent essay: "Freedom and Social Goods:
Rethinking Marx's Theory of Communism", Rethinking Marxism, 16, April 2004,
pp. 185-206.

In solidarity

Ernesto Screpanti

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