Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Using Social Forces to Raise Taxes

The focus of my post was to point out that we should consider using all the fields of social science to deal with broad based social issues such as greed and morality.

To continue as an example, tax rates could be raised much easier if social praise and reinforcement were given to those who paid the most taxes. Costless praise and other forms of recognition such as a "national taxpayers day" where high tax payers received kudos for their generosity and a brief statement by politicians acknowledging that the nation's operations rests on their shoulders (true or not) would lessen the opposition to higher taxes. Social rewards are a type of currency that can be used in exchange for monetary currency. That's why in previous large scale wars like WWII, every nation involved used praise and shame to raise enormous amounts of money and quell discontentment over the low level of consumer goods provided to society. Almost everyone bought War Bonds even though they knew the low interest and unfavorable terms were likely to produce an economic loss for the buyer. Yet the social rewards outweighed the economic gain. There is a case where "greed" and "self-interest" in economic terms were overcome by costless (economic) social forces at work. The same forces can be heralded again to produce positive outcomes.

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