- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press (April 11, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195150163
- ISBN-13: 978-0195150162
- Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.8 x 5.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #856,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Myth of Ownership: Taxes and Justice
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"The thoughts in this book deserve examination, especially the views of Nagel and Murphy on the self-interest each taxpayer reasonably has in the social justice purchased by hard-earned money....[They] offer ideas that would improve the national debate."--David Cay Johnston,New York Times Book Review
Their research is impressive, their reasoning precise.... should be on every public economics reading list."--Journal of Economic Issues
About the Author
Liam Murphy teaches law and philosophy at New York University. He is the author of Moral Demands in Nonideal Theory. Thomas Nagel teaches law and philosophy at New York University. He is the author of Moral Questions, Equality and Partiality, and The Last Word.
Top customer reviews
As both an economist and an attorney, I found this book quite compelling and enlightening. I highly recommend it.
This quote by John Kenneth Galbraith is one of the most succinct and important in regards to the myth of the heroic producer who made every dime of his money entirely on his own, and owes nothing to the society that made his wealth possible.
Do not listen to the reviews that claim the book argues that all that we produce "belongs to the government," along with a parade of other strawmen arguments trotted out by those dissatisfied by its thesis. It does not claim that. It does not make that argument. It's claim is that we do own the fruits of our labor to the extent that we contributed to the creation and production of that production - but that, to some degree, we own back into the society that created the infrastructure that allowed that production to be possible.
The book is the most informative I have encountered in regards to articulating the importance of a system of public goods for meeting the needs of society as a whole. In reality, without some method of collective enforcement of the rights we hold so dear, you wouldn't' have the privilege of arguing on the internet from the comfort of your own own. It is the greatest book I have seen pointing out the flawed and unrealistic religion that is Libertarianism.
This book points out why the alleviation of poverty helps everyone. Why you benefit in a world where the poor are taken care of. Why social goods created by collectively pooled resources allow us all to enjoy more wealth. Why courts, laws, patents, and enforcement make it possible to produce to begin with. Why education is the wellspring of all the progress we hold so dear from the onset.
Until someone can produce for me a person who got rich in a Capitalistic society with no infrastructure, property rights, patents, educated workers, national defense, roads, sewers, water, airports, and countless other public goods woven into the very basic fabric of our wealth creating society, the charges levied against this book our invalid. Someone flippantly said "This book just says without Uncle Sam, you
Please, do not listen to the Randists and Tea Party Right wing nuts who denigrate the book. Read it and come to your own conclusion. Not everything is captured by market signals. The greatest and wealthiest countries learned long ago, that taxes are a way for us to do big, hard things that make us all better off, which cannot be achieved by any one person alone.
It's the Libertarians who want something for nothing. They want to enjoy a society and wealth made possible by billions of investments in Infrastructure, for free. They are the ones wanting welfare. Not the other way around. We do own the fruits of our own work. But we owe some of that, to the framework that made that possible so that wealth creation can remain possible. This book is a beautiful articulation of that fact.
Humans have traded things back and forth for their own benefit since our species has been able to walk upright. No one disagrees with this. A world with no government would be possible - and has indeed existed before. Some would succeed brilliantly in such an anarchistic world. But the price for not being at the top would be far crueler, far harsher than we have today. It would amount to a lottery where he very best and strongest would enjoy a possibly very glitzy and dominant position (To the extent that modern technology would even allow that - basic research, and technology from public funding has contributed to a vast degree of the advancement we have today), but the rest would languish in a terrible, brutish and uncertain world with no way to keep the strong from crushing the under the them. Libertarians and tea partiers recognize only the monopoly of public power. For some reason, the idea of private power as a coercive force is utterly invisible to them.