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Sir James Steuart and a General Sales Tax

Sir James Steuart and a General Sales Tax History of Political Economy 33:2 (2001) It is a tax, at so much per cent. upon the sale of every commodity. (4:247; emphasis added)2 In fact, Steuart proposed a general sales tax as a replacement for the land tax. Steuart’s general sales tax can be credited partly to Charles Davenant, who proposed to finance the War of the Spanish Succession by extending the excise (Davenant 1695, 159; [1698] 1967, 1:143).3 Steuart’s proposal can also be said to be a revival of the discussion with respect to Walpole’s Excise Bill of 1733. Walpole’s bill was regarded as a preparatory measure that would be followed by the imposition of the excise on all the necessaries of life; it was finally withdrawn because of strong opposition (Dowell 1965, 2:105).4 However, in contrast to his precursors, Steuart attempted to derive his policy proposals from a consistent system of political economy. In the Principles, he examined the topics of population, agriculture, trade, industry, money, coin, interest, circulation, banks, exchange, public credit, and taxes, concluding that “the principles deduced from all these topics, appear tolerably consistent; and the whole is a train of reasoning, through which I have adhered to the connection of subjects http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Political Economy Duke University Press

Sir James Steuart and a General Sales Tax

History of Political Economy , Volume 33 (2) – Jun 1, 2001

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2001 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0018-2702
eISSN
1527-1919
DOI
10.1215/00182702-33-2-345
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

History of Political Economy 33:2 (2001) It is a tax, at so much per cent. upon the sale of every commodity. (4:247; emphasis added)2 In fact, Steuart proposed a general sales tax as a replacement for the land tax. Steuart’s general sales tax can be credited partly to Charles Davenant, who proposed to finance the War of the Spanish Succession by extending the excise (Davenant 1695, 159; [1698] 1967, 1:143).3 Steuart’s proposal can also be said to be a revival of the discussion with respect to Walpole’s Excise Bill of 1733. Walpole’s bill was regarded as a preparatory measure that would be followed by the imposition of the excise on all the necessaries of life; it was finally withdrawn because of strong opposition (Dowell 1965, 2:105).4 However, in contrast to his precursors, Steuart attempted to derive his policy proposals from a consistent system of political economy. In the Principles, he examined the topics of population, agriculture, trade, industry, money, coin, interest, circulation, banks, exchange, public credit, and taxes, concluding that “the principles deduced from all these topics, appear tolerably consistent; and the whole is a train of reasoning, through which I have adhered to the connection of subjects

Journal

History of Political EconomyDuke University Press

Published: Jun 1, 2001

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