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The Myth of OwnershipTaxes and Justice$
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Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195150162

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195150163.001.0001

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Redistribution and Public Provision

Redistribution and Public Provision

Chapter:
(p.76) 4 Redistribution and Public Provision
Source:
The Myth of Ownership
Author(s):

Liam Murphy

Thomas Nagel (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195150163.003.0004

Taxation has two primary functions. First, it determines how much of a society’s resources will come under the control of government, for expenditure in accordance with some collective decision procedure, and how much will be left in the discretionary control of private individuals, as their personal property; call this public-private division. Second, it plays a central role in determining how the social product is shared out among different individuals, both in the form of private property and in the form of publicly provided benefits; call this distribution. Though these functions are typically run together in political discussion--by the use of slogans such as “big government”–they are conceptually and normatively distinct. It is difficult, however, to address the two policy issues separately, since the two functions are mutually interdependent in practice.

Keywords:   public provision, redistribution, big government, taxation, expenditure

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