Fiscal pessimism in historical perspective: Tocqueville's cross revisited Articles uri icon

authors

  • CEPEDA, ISABEL
  • FRAILE BALBIN, PEDRO

publication date

  • September 2022

start page

  • 349

end page

  • 369

issue

  • 2

volume

  • 40

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0212-6109

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2041-3335

abstract

  • This paper explores Alexis de Tocqueville's thought on fiscal political economy as a forerunner of the modern school of preference falsification and rational irrationality in economic decision making. A good part of the literature has misrepresented Tocqueville as an unconditional optimist regarding the future of fiscal moderation under democracy. Yet, although he initially shared the cautious optimism of most classical economists with respect to taxes under extended suffrage, Tocqueville's view turned more pessimistic in the second volume of his Democracy in America. Universal enfranchisement and democratic governments would lead to higher taxes, more intense income redistribution and government control. Under democracy, the continuous search for unconditional equality would eventually jeopardise liberty and economic growth.

subjects

  • Economics
  • Philosophy
  • Politics

keywords

  • alexis de tocqueville; income redistribution; tocqueville's cross; rational irrationality; equality; alexis de tocqueville; redistribuci√≥n de ingresos; la cruz de tocqueville; irracionalidad racional; igualdad