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The Athenian Taxation System


wealthymatters.comIf there has to be a state,there has to be a government and inevitably expenses and so taxes.It’s interesting to see how the ¬†democratic Athenian city-state (polis)¬†dealt with the problem of raising taxes by understanding human needs well.Athens had two ways of tapping into the resources of its wealthier citizens:

First,the Athenians derived funds for the normal, everyday operations of their government from indirect taxes (mainly harbor and market dues), and a variety of fees, fines and rents. These were sufficient in times of peace, even after the loss of their empire.But war was another matter. In times of war and other emergencies, the Athenians, voting in Assembly, levied a special tax (eisphora) on the more well-to-do citizens of the polis, approximately the upper one-third. This tax was based not on income, but on total assets.After all the moneyed had more to lose materially in a war than the poor. Read more of this post

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