“Smarter Taxes” Can Help Build our Ideal World

I have been reading Kate Raworth’s “Doughnut economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist” and it is fantastic. She indicates more “Undoing” of what seemed correct is needed (see Undoing Needed because Mental Illusions Impact Us and To Improve: “Undoing” Needed to Create Better!).

This book has captured my attention and it is keeping it because there are so many wonderful detailed plans about how to do things in a better way. Instead of just saying why things are wrong, she provides an explanation about better ways and then how and why they are better…with examples. It appears her aim is more good, not just less bad. She provides multiple examples of #SelfishSelflessSynergy.

If you follow me, you know I have been suggesting we should “Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad”. I also suggest we can do this if we “Exceed Expectations” or what I call  +3. I detail this in my YouTube Video’s and my articles. I specifically address this in the “Exceed Expectations” video.


As noted in the title, she also explains how this can be true for taxes. While the idea of “Tax Relief” seems desirable, we need to remember that taxes are great because they enable us to fulfill the desires and needs of our society. Libraries, schools, parks, roads, green areas and all the things that make life better exist because of taxes. These government developed projects are public goods that enhance the well-being of everyone.

We also need to remember that those fantastic innovators at Google and Apple and others were only possible because of the public internet infrastructure built from taxes. From this perspective, taxes are a form of selfish, selfless, synergy or a way to practice paneugenesis and create all good. In other words, taxes can be a way to generate comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone an everything benefits. Well at least they could be, let me explain.

Kate Raworth’s book helped me see taxes from an even more beneficial perspective. As she explains, taxes change behaviors. By that she means what is taxed causes people to adjust what they do. For example, in the past when they taxed windows, people built houses without windows. Now, because they tax labor with payroll taxes, insurance, etc., corporations work to find ways to eliminate the expense of labor. These efforts have generated the wonderfully innovative invention of artificial intelligence (AI). AI, sometimes as robots, can now perform the actions of humans at a lower cost. In this way, taxes adjusted behaviors.

Behaviors demonstrate that taxes adjust behaviors so less use of what is taxed is substituted for things that are not taxed. Knowing this suggests we must update the tax code so we tax what we want less of and subsidize things we want to increase. Succinctly, she explains we should switch from taxing labor to taxing capital. Right now the taxing system encourages us to be creative to find ways for machines do the work instead of humans. For example:

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Autonomous Forklifts Replace Manned Forklifts, One Unit at a Time

The code will subsidize these forklifts, the capital, because their purchase costs will be used to decrease income and related taxes. However, if more employees were hired, this would increase costs and related taxes. To create more good we need to switch from focusing on increasing labor productivity to increasing resource productivity. Doing this means we will tax what we want to get rid of and subsidize what we want to increase and creativity will be used to create better working conditions for humans. The result of this should increase jobs and decrease resource use.

In a related example she discussed the traditional Corporate Response for requests to go green. The first group would do nothing wondering why they should change when their job is to make profits. The second group would only do what pays back, or do what is green if it can earn them more profits. The third group she identifies would only do their fair share. This concerned her because it seemed to subliminally suggest everyone has a right to pollute. The fourth group, with what seems to be good intentions, attempts to only  do no harm or mission zero. While this is good, she cited Will McDonough, of Cradle to Cradle and Upcycle fame (please see Concept: Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad)  who said that is only about being less bad, it is not being good.

Her recommendation is that organizations should focus on being generous. That is they should design their efforts to be regenerative by design. Studies also demonstrate this is a more profitable focus from many perspectives. This means their efforts give back and is what I describe as +3. These efforts aim to be regenerative so they provide biosphere stewardship and the result will be leaving the planet better than they found it.

I look forward to hearing about your generous efforts that will help benefit everyone and everything. Please share your efforts so we can learn from your selfish, selfless, synergistic actions. Thank you.

Be Well’r,

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

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