Taxing Wealth in the Just City: Cicero and the Roman Census

Author: Monson, Andrew
Title: Taxing Wealth in the Just City: Cicero and the Roman Census
Review/Collection: The Journal of Roman Studies
Editor: Cambridge University Press
Year edition: 2023
Pages: 1-27
Keywords: Philosophie - Filosofia - Philosophy, Politique - Politica - Politics
Description: Cicero claims that states were created for the protection of property, so a statesman should try to avoid levying property taxes. A contrary principle holds that, as long as the state is common to all, those who benefit from it most should compensate those who benefit least to maintain distributive justice. With this frame of reference, the article asks two related questions. First, to what extent does Cicero differ from Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Livy, and the Stoics, who describe compensation or common ownership as a principle of fiscal fairness? Second, how does Cicero's political theory reflect the misgivings of wealthy Romans about state power and redistribution in the absence of compensatory taxation from 167 to 43 b.c.e.? I argue that his interpretation of the Servian census entrenches the ‘pre-fiscal’ distribution of property in the Roman constitution, which compromises the impartiality of the state and weakens its ability to respond to fiscal crises [Author]
Author initials: Monson 2023