I am impressed by the courage of those who have taken direct action in the cause of the Extinction Rebellion. They have gone beyond talk, as the crisis facing our world requires.
But, that said, I have never been inclined to take direct action: it’s just not the way I want to change the world. I am not saying it’s wrong: far from it in fact. I think it works. But I have always felt that there have been other things for me to do. And what that has meant in the current situation is that I have had to ask myself what I might do. My answer is to suggest that we need to talk about Tax to Save The Environment (TASTE).
I have long argued that the primary purpose of tax is not to raise revenue. I wrote a whole book - The Joy of Tax - on that theme. I unashamedly recommend reading it. In it I suggested that there were six reasons for tax:
- Reclaiming the money the government has spent into the economy.
- Ratifying the value of money.
- Reorganising the economy.
- Redistributing income and wealth within the economy.
- Repricing goods and services.
- Raising representation in a democracy.
These are explained in more detail here.
My argument when suggesting Tax to Save The Environment falls into categories 3, 4 and 5, although with a focus on the last, and definite implications for the other groups. I stress: the aim is not to raise money. It is to use tax to change the way out society works.
And that is what is required now: a whole change to the way our society works. Since in my opinion tax is one of the most powerful tools that we have to change the way that society works, for better or worse, my contribution will be to suggest ways that tax can deliver change for the better to help save our plant. That’s what TASTE will be all about.