Just a quick note before the actual blog: I’m at AERO in Friedrichshafen right now! I’ll be there until Saturday. Come see me! (Foyer Ost). Yes, I know I’m repeating myself.
On to today’s subject: Have you ever hear of Amilcare Puviani? He was an Italian economist, is regarded as an early representative of the public-choice-theory, and focused on public finances in his work. His most popular work “Teoria della illusione finanziaria” is basically a guide or manual for the state, how to squeeze out as much money out of a population without them noticing or getting aggravated about it. A key item on his list is to make the whole system as convoluted and intransparent as possible, so that nobody knows how much taxes he or she actually pays and so that the whole system becomes an unseizable, intangible, amorphous money sucking blob that is impossible to fight. (That wording is mine, not his, to be fair).
When I look at my tax forms, I have no doubt that this book is recommended reading for every public officer who reaches a certain level in every treasury department around the world.
And when I think about the accumulated time spent on accounting and tax stuff by millions upon millions of people, it makes me weep for the lost time, joy, productivity and potential of mankind. And the next time you tear your hairs out doing your taxes, remember: It’s not *just* the natural evolution of big institutions at play here. It most probably is all done on purpose.
Anyway, since I’m away from my office right now, I can’t reply to comments, but just preemptively: Yes, I like roads and schools, that’s not the point.