Bronze Age corporate tax breaks

I’m reading an entertaining book right now called 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed.  I had to chuckle this morning when I read about the Egyptian kings around 1,300 BC exempting ships bringing traded goods out of foreign lands from paying taxes.  There are several examples of this written down.

Imagine that.  Corporate tax breaks to incentivize trade and investment over 3,000 years ago.

You can almost see an ancient version of Kevin Lacey from the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation lobbying the Pharaoh to stop the horrible practice of corporate tax breaks and complaining about the growth in the size of the state.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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3 Responses to Bronze Age corporate tax breaks

  1. Michael Edwards says:

    Haven’t read the book, David. But I can guess that nearly nine centuries later there are still many who will go to any length to avoid paying taxes. They’ve even organized themselves into unions. Well, the don’t call them unions, they call them federations or coalitions or institutes… You’ve heard them decrying govt as inefficient, ineffective, unaffordable &too much red tape, too big, etc. Or if that doesn’t work, vilifying those using govt services, “those lazy welfare cheats”. And if none of that works, there’s always the simple, taxes are evil line…
    The tax cheats have done one thing very effectively, though. They very cleverly fooled us into believing two things: First, that we can have all the public services we need while paying less and less tax and second; that paying tax is somehow bad for the economy . Indeed little has changed!

  2. mikel says:

    I think the more important message of that little scenario is the book title itself: “the year civilization collapsed”. Its also worth noting: “A major part of the levies imposed on the people was used by the Pharaoh, the Nobles and the temples”. Yeah, not much has changed.

  3. Egyptian kings around 1,300 BC also had slaves. Doesn’t make it a good idea, though.

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