Taxation in American States and Cities

By Richard T. Ely | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V.
THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF TAXES.

CLASSIFICATION OF TAXES HAS BECOME IMPORTANT.

WHAT has been said in previous chapters shows the small importance which could be attached in early ages to a classification of taxes. It was then sufficient to mention the few taxes which existed, and to describe them. Possibly it is only in this century that nations, states, and cities have had what may fairly be termed classes of taxes. There are now, however, taxes of so many sorts that one will find it impossible to understand taxation unless the different kinds are arranged in subdivisions and these characterized by their main features. The richness and fulness of modern industrial life render it like the natural world in complexity, and the student is forced to resort to similar methods in his investigations.


THE CLASSIFICATION OF THE PHYSIOCRATS.

Jean Bodin speaks of direct and indirect taxes in his work, "Six Livres de la République"; but this distinction appears to have been made familiar by the teachings of the French economists, the Physiocrats1 of the last century. The Physiocrats taught that land was the only source of new wealth; and agriculture, consequently, the only truly produc-

____________________
1
The three most prominent Physiocrats were Quesnay, Gournay, and Turgot.

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