How a fair tax system can can create a better society
'A brief but crucially important book'
In The Joy of Tax, tax campaigner Richard Murphy challenges almost every idea you have about tax. For him, tax is fundamentally about the ideas that shape the sort of society we want to live in, not technicalities. His intention is to demonstrate that there is indeed a joy in tax, and by embracing it we can create a fairer society and change the world for the better.
Tax has been a feature of human society for a very long time. Almost no one gives tax a good press even though, as Richard Murphy argues, it has been fundamental to the development of democracy the world over. Whilst we may not like tax very much, in contrast it is clear that we really do like the public services which governments provide. So much so, in fact, that for most of the last 300 years, people have been more than happy for governments to run deficits by spending more than they raise in taxation.
2008 apparently changed all that. The issues of debt, deficits, cuts and austerity have dominated the political agenda ever since. Virtually every aspect of the government's finances and how to rearrange them in the forlorn hope of balancing the books has been discussed in great detail. Despite that, there has been almost no real discussion during this period about what tax is for and how it contributes to the creation of the society we aspire to.
“He has done the impossible: writing a book on tax that is not the literary equivalent of a handful of sleeping pills... A brief but critically important book. It needs to be read by politicians and journalists as a matter of urgency”
Marcus Chown, Times Higher Educational Supplement
“Richard Murphy is a rare voice of sanity at a time of economic madness. We desperately need an alternative to austerity - and with a few more Murphys, we'll get it.”
Owen Jones, author of The Establishment
“Conventional economists have run out of ideas. But Richard Murphy abounds with them. He writes with electric clarity about what went wrong and what could be done to put things right. He is a new economic thinker, and guided by a sharp and practical accountant's eye he knows where the money is hidden, who has it and how to release it. Murphy is is as courageous as he says our politicians should be.”
Polly Toynbee, The Guardian