[ExI] Against government science funding was Re: New Hope for Alzheimer's Disease Vaccine

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sun Apr 27 12:03:46 UTC 2008

2008/4/26 Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com>:

>  >  Much of the money collected is wasted. It would be better if this
>  >  money were left in the hands of the taxpayers
>  ### Taken out of your context, these sentences perfectly encapsulate
>  what I think about taxation.

Of course I don't believe that any amount of taxation for any purpose
is automatically justified. The level and nature of taxation should be
set by the people and by market forces: those countries which tax too
high or too low will be less competitive internationally in the long

>  >  If my house burns down my insurance company will pay to build me a
>  >  replacement. This is despite the fact that I may only have paid a few
>  >  hundred dollars in premiums: the deal was that if it burns down, they
>  >  will pay, and I don't feel guilty about taking the money from all the
>  >  other policyholders whose houses don't burn down.
>  ### This was a voluntary deal: Nobody forced the folks at the company
>  to write you an insurance contract. Nobody gets hurt here, in fact,
>  since both parties (you and the company) enter the contract willingly,
>  a presumption of a positive sum game can be made.
>  --------------------
>  Similarly, the deal
>  >  in the country where I live is that if I earn income I will pay a
>  >  proportion of it to the Government, and in return I will receive
>  >  certain services if I need them.
>  ### No, this is not the "deal". I never was given the choice to accept
>  or reject the taxman. Neither did you.
>  --------------------
> >
>  >  You will doubtless point out that I am free not to insure my house but
>  >  that isn't always an option. If I live in an apartment building I will
>  >  be forced to pay my share for insurance and other maintenance costs,
>  >  simply because the majority of the other owners have voted that way.
>  ### There is a whole order of magnitude difference between changing an
>  apartment and changing your country. I can tell you that from my own
>  experience. This means that choice in countries is much more limited
>  than in apartments, and states are whole networks of enforcers,
>  illegitimately restricting my choice of laws.

Yes, it isn't so easy to change your country. But there is still a
market of economic and political systems across the world. Countries
which are economically, socially and politically attractive get more
migrants and more investment and tend to become more influential in
the world in the long run. Other countries have to change their system
to compete or else they get left further and further behind. It is
interesting that low taxation is a clear strategy to foster investment
and growth in a number of countries around the world, with some
considerable success (eg. Hong Kong, Singapore), but these countries
have not gone the whole way and eliminated all taxation.

Stathis Papaioannou

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