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身高税的哲学渊源  

2009-06-19 15:29:38|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Cult of Utilitarians


美女同事
[译]


Conor Clarke takes note of my paper with Matthew Weinzierl (earlier, ungated version) on taxing height and then comments:

Conor Clarke 注意到,我与Matthew Weinzierl合作的一篇文章,谈到对身高征税。他有评论如下:


I'msurprised to [see] the strong utilitarian view described as theconsensus. I don't know much about utilitarian optimal tax theory, butI also don't know of any public finance or policy people who are dyingto revive the prescriptive insights of Jeremy Bentham and FrancisEdgeworth. Is there a cult of utilitarian social planners out therewaiting to propose taxes on inputs like height, intelligence and race?

我很意外,强势的利他主义观点给说成了共识。对于利他主义的最优税收理论,我所知甚少。然而,我也不认识什么公共财政或公共政策的人士,拼命想复兴Jeremy Bentham Francis Edgeworth那些已经约定俗成的深刻思想。是否存在崇拜利他主义理论的社会规划大师,等着给身高、智力或者种族等变量加税呢?

 

Well,no, to my knowledge no one is eager to tax height, intelligence, andrace. But there is a prominent guy who lives at a nice home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenuewho wants to "spread the wealth around." The moral and politicalphilosophy used to justify such income redistribution is most often aform of Utilitarianism. For example, the work on optimal tax theory by Emmanuel Saez, the most recent winner of the John Bates Clark award, is essentially Utilitarian in its approach.

嗯,不,就我所知,没有人希望对身高、智力或者种族征税。然而,有一位名人,居住在宾州大道1600号的豪宅里,希望“散尽家财”。证明此种收入再分配的道德与政治哲学,就经常视为利他主义之一种。譬如,Emmanuel,最新的克拉克奖得主,他的最优税收理论著作,本质上的方法就是利他主义。

 

The point of our paper is this: If you are going to take that philosophy seriously, you have to take allof the implications seriously. And one of those implications is theoptimality of taxing height and other exogenous personalcharacteristics correlated with income-producing abilities.

我们论文的观点是:如果你要把那种哲学当真,就需要认真对待所有的推论。其中一个推论是,对身高等与收入产出能力相关的个人外在特征进行征税,可以实现最优化。

 

Amoral and political philosophy is not like a smorgasbord, where you getto pick and choose the offerings you like and leave the others behindwithout explanation. It is more like your mother telling you to cleaneverything on your plate. If you are a Utilitarian redistributionist,the height tax is like that awful tasting vegetable your mother servedup because it is good for you. No matter how hard you might wish itwasn't there sitting on your plate, it just won't go away.

道德与政治哲学不是自助餐,你可以选择自己喜欢的,扔掉其余而没有丝毫解释。这种情况更类似于,你的母亲要求你吃光盘子里的一切。如果你是个利他的分配主义者,身高税就如味同嚼蜡的蔬菜,母亲给你吃是因为吃了对你好。无论你如何强烈地希望它不在盘子里,但是它自己就是不会消失。

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