This paper discusses Graslin’s progressive consumption tax theory proposed for the reconstruction of tough fiscal conditions in France in 1767. Graslin criticised the single tax on land Physiocrats demanded because it narrowed taxable objects due to the distinction between ‘productive’ and ‘sterile.’
A direct tax on income at a fixed rate is disadvantageous to poor people; in the case of progressive rates, there will be apathy toward economic activity. At that time, it was difficult to estimate individual income or wealth of all classes accurately, including of tax-exempt classes. Therefore, Graslin considered that individual consumption capacity was an indicator of income level. A tax imposed in proportion to consumption capacity and normativeness, namely, the level of items’ importance for survival, would be fair and efficient for an increase in revenue. In Graslin’s progressive consumption tax system, necessities are not taxed; however, the more luxurious the item, the higher the consumption tax.
Furthermore, hoping for multiplier effects, Graslin linked the effects of consumption tax and tariffs. While Graslin acknowledged Cantillon’s cycle theory, Graslin noted that Cantillon did not consider tariffs in the downturn of an economic cycle. Although tariffs raised the prices of luxury goods, the government would increase revenue through the consumption tax paid mainly by wealthy people.
This logic conforms to the Ramsey rule. For wealthy people, Graslin regarded luxuries to maintain their pride as their necessities. For this reason, he considered luxury goods to have low price elasticity of demand. Thus, wealthy people’s consumption of luxuries would not decrease even if their real income decreased.
JEL classification numbers: B11, B31, H22.
In the real world, an entrepreneur requires capital to produce. Thus, the Austrian school of economics, which theorizes the real economic world as it is, must be based on capital the- ory. This means that distinctive areas of the Austrian school of economics, such as Business Cycle, Economic Calculation, Entrepreneurship, Knowledge, Spontaneous Order, and Market Process must be understood based on capital theory. However, Austrian Capital Theory(ACT)is not a unique theory; rather, it is plural. This plurality makes understanding its diverse roles in Austrian Economics difficult.
Examining these plural theories, I find the shared similarity in these theories lies in the viewpoint of an entrepreneur. In the first place, we reveal the plurality of ACT by tracing its genealogy. Next, we classify them using the controversy between Endres & Harper and Braun in the History of Economic Thought(2014). Lastly, I group them into three capital functions by ranking plural concepts of capital alongside a process of change in entrepreneurial asset composition. These functions are ‘production factor,’ ‘purchase,’ and ‘calculation.’ Plural concepts of capital are integrated into the viewpoint of an entrepreneur who uses the three functions to produce in the real world. That is a distinctive feature of ACT, and this also means that ACT and entrepreneurship theory are never isolated. Rather, this distinctiveness becomes one of the sources of its plurality.
JEL classification numbers: B13, B25, B41.
This article aims to demonstrate Yuichi Shionoya’s theory of economic ethics by classifying his study into early, middle, and later stages and focusing on his conception of perfectionism. His theory is composed of ethics and economics. In early and later stages, Shionoya proposes his notion of ethics as one category of liberal perfectionism by demonstrating the relationship between the concepts of justice, goodness, and virtue. Part of its originality is that it is defined as being compatible with the pursuit of common good, which is the main purpose of welfare economics. Moreover, he proposes three kinds of economics: economic sociology, economic statics, and economic dynamics in the middle and later stages. He argues that a society in which liberal perfectionism prevails can be realized by the elitist method that he demonstrates in economic sociology. Thus, Shionoya attempts to construct his economic ethics as “universal social science” by integrating the ideas of political philosophy and welfare economics and showing consistency in his entire study. This article questions the consistency of Shionoya’s theory of economic ethics. The rest of this article is organized as follows. First, we classify Shionoya’s study and show that his main purpose is to construct an alternative theory by criticizing neoclassical economics. Second, we clarify his view of perfectionism by showing his ethical system. We then outline his theory of economic ethics by analyzing his economics and clarifying his method of institutional reform. Finally, we express doubt as to whether reform can lead to his concept of an ideal society.
JEL classification numbers: B31, O31.
Introduction by Akio Hoshino
Zenya Takashima （1904-90）ʼs ʻThe Wealth of Nations and the System of Productive Powers,ʼ which has been translated into English here, is Chapter 5 of Part 2, “Adam Smith and the Problem of Civil Society,” in The Fundamental Problem of Economic Sociology-Smith and List as Economic Sociologists-, Tokyo: Nihon Hyoronsha, 1941 （The Works of Zenya Takashima, vol. 2, 1997, Tokyo）. It was written in the midst of the Second Sino-Japanese War （1937-45） and directly before Japanʼs involvement in the Second World War （1941-45）, a period during which the military system severely suppressed both academic inquiry and the general population. In modern Japan （1868- ）, there was a particular emphasis on the introduction of German institutions and culture, and Friedrich Listʼs political economy and its national policy of productive powers were therefore welcomed. This work of Takashimaʼs called into question the prevailing trends at the time, and managed to achieve publication in spite of the severe censorship to which such texts were subjected. Because it talked about “Smith as List” and “List as Smith,” the censors seem not to have been able to understand its central critique. Having been written under such circumstances, its prose became very complicated and difﬁcult, but it was covertly held in high regard. It has been said that many of its readers understood its ironic implication, and that some even took it to be a cover for Marxism. Its core chapter that regards Smithʼs moral philosophy as of greatest importance （Chapter 2: ʻThree Worlds in Smithʼ） has already been translated into English （Adam Smith: Critical Responses, vol. 5, edited by Hiroshi Mizuta, Routledge, 2000）. The theme of Chapter 5 is solely Smithʼs economic theory.