Effects of taxation on ancient societies

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  • Publicado : 17 de diciembre de 2011
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"In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes."

Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to M. Leroy, 1789.

Modern times had shown economic interaction within the market that involves entirecivilizations under the intervention of the state (government). This means that the need of human beings of buying, selling, producing, trading, etc. Had been influenced by authorities that take advantagefrom market revenues in order to increase social wealth fare. That is the burden of taxation, the income of the state. However, although this situation had been quite established in our contemporaryhuman generation’s pockets with a considerable success in global economy, it must have a beginning, an origin, and an ancient development. This throws us to the question of how did taxation develop inancient civilizations? Did it have a positive or negative influence? Throughout this work the focus is directed to ancient civilizations such as Mesopotamia and Egypt.

As a first approach, greatcivilizations from ancient history managed to develop, within the boundaries of economy, stable means of production and market interaction. The great empire of Egypt, for instance, based its wealth farein agricultural production for their food needs and for trade. From this point is the state (the pharaoh) that is going to impose labor rules and returns from each crop grown. The Egyptian Empire waspaying taxes in kind. This meant that each farmer had to give up a percentage from his or her production. As far as we consider the state and the people´s wealth fare this had a negative and apositive influence. Negative influence relies on the fact that farmers were exploited to get the most from land; their production and labor were taken away by the real monopoly of the state composed by astrong hierarchy. We can say that the functionaries from the pharaoh and the pharaoh himself understood their civilization as been slaves. They defined labor as the unit of value, just as a communist...
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