Crafting the Cynical Generation?

…continuing our conversation in the Economics of Taxation series (part 2)

 

A European Generation ‘E’ enquiry – (‘E’ for employment)

Referring to our previous article entitled ‘The Economics of Taxation’, today we elaborate and flesh out the basic ideas around taxation.

The basic idea is that any form of taxation becomes a drain on productive resources and at some point counter productive in attempts at balancing the government budget.  For a fuller explanation of the effects of tax rate rises see the Laffer Curve analysis and the Cato Institute’s Dan Mitchell explain the Centre for Freedom and Prosperity’s view on Fiscal policy.


 Source: Wikipedia – Laffer Curve

Two specific points are made by Dan Mitchell in his explanation, which bears thinking about:

  • We don’t necessarily want to be at the point on the curve where government revenue is maximised, due to other factors such as the disincentives of maximising tax declaration by tax payers or the cost of collecting that revenue in the first place (sub-optimisation effects)
  • Growth (in the economy) incentives fall well short on the upward side of the Laffer curve.  In plain English this means that economic growth is maximised somewhere where people have the incentive to retain as much of their hard earned income and that point is somewhere well before we reach the Government Revenue maximising point.  (The second Laffer Curve graph above captures this point in a more visual and understandable format).  At point D on the curve economic growth will be maximised and note how it still falls well short of the Government Revenue maximising point B.

The behavioural question that fascinates us at theMarketSoul ©1999 – 2011 is how come citizens in Europe are able to tolerate so much more of an overall higher tax rate burden than our cousins across the pond in the United States?

theMarketSoul ©2011

The Morass of Mediocrity

We link today’s article to one of our main themes on our home page, namely the ‘Battle against the Status Quo’, or as per the title of this posting, ‘The Morass of Mediocrity’.

 

Helmet from the Sutton Hoo ship-burial 1, England.
Image via Wikipedia

The underlying intent and theme is that of competition and competitive behaviours and the difference between rules based and principles based standards.

 

It is our opinion that a rules based culture encourages more insular and introspective behaviours, where the rush is for the middle ground of mediocrity, rather than as the opposite principles based culture would be the encouragement for the search for innovation and competitiveness at the margins and extremes of the ‘functional envelope’.  By this we mean the parameters and frameworks set-out in the principles based environment, to ensure that a well-defined playing field (not necessarily level), is established and market participants understand their boundaries and culture norms they have to adhere by as part of the participation process.

 

Yet, apparently, a more principles based regulatory framework is exactly what is being blamed for the Credit Quake of 2008 – 2010.

 

And if we analyse the circumstances that led to the regulatory failure and debt driven imbalance we currently experience, we would discover that it is because we operate in a hybrid world with symbiotic elements in the relationships between the private, public and third sectors.

 

Some of these factors include, but are not limited to:

  1. Market structure – free market versus socialist structures
  2. Regulatory framework – the disjointed regulatory frameworks and mixed agendas and the sense of urgency in the global regulatory framework
  3. Cultural setting – Anglo-Saxon, European, Middle Eastern, Far East, etc.
  4. Reliance on macro-economic tools including monetary and fiscal policies
  5. Skewed nature of national performance measurement
  6. Balance between equilibrium and disequilibrium clearance mechanisms in the economy
  7. Erosion of moral hazard and other distorting signals

 

Régulation de la machine à vapeur Merlin
Régulation de la machine à vapeur Merlin (Photo credit: zigazou76)

However, as a mainly libertarian focussed publication, it would be remiss of us not to endorse the principles of minimal interference (small government in other words), yet we also realise that this has to be tempered with personal responsibility.  However, because the symbiotic (hybrid) relationships have become so skewed and dysfunctional over the last few decades, was it any surprise that the uncertainty this created led to opportunist behaviours?  Because a ‘moral compass’ is a very relative term, is it no surprise that depending on your own individual position and point of view, that the direction it indicates will be different from others?

 

The G20 are meeting again this weekend and the global regulatory framework will again be in more detailed focus, yet other priorities are again distracting the main thrust and issues on the agenda.

 

Therefore to conclude this brief interlude into the ‘morass of mediocrity’, the real question is:

 

If we all run and work hard for the centre ground, who will remain at the margins, pushing the envelope and ensuring that we break the tyranny of the status quo by exploring new unchartered territories and responsible risk taking behaviours?

 

theMarketSoul ©2010