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Taxation In Utopia: 

Required Sacrifice and

the General Welfare

"This is an extremely well researched and thorough exploration of utopian literature, effectively back to the beginning of the written word. Morris covers every major work of literature with a utopian element, and works through the tax (both pecuniary and constructive) present in all of these works. His explanation and analysis of economics and doctrine of tax laws is of the highest order." — Jennifer Bird-Pollan, University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law


Don Morris



Recently released by the same author

Jonathan Swift's flying island of Laputa

"Every senator in the great council of a nation, after he had delivered his opinion, and argued in the defence of it, should be obliged to give his vote directly contrary; because if that were done, the result would infallibly terminate in the good of the public."

"I heard a very warm debate . . . about the most commodious and effectual ways and means of raising money without grieving the subject. . . . [One suggestion was taxing] those qualities of body and mind for which men chiefly value themselves, the rate to be . . . according to the degrees of excelling, the decision whereof should be left entirely to their own breast." -- Gulliver's Travels




Drawing of Robert Owen's planned (but never constructed) community. Between 1825 and 1827 the Owenite community of about one thousand members inhabited the former Harmony Society village, founded by George Rapp's followers at New Harmony, Indiana, USA. The town now features a museum, the Atheneum, commemorating its early utopian heritage.

Stedman Whitwell (1784–1840), Architect. Architectural  model from Whitwell's 1825 design featuring a thirty-three acre self-contained village enclosing a twenty-two acre quadrangle, to be constructed on two thousand acres near the Wasbash river at the south-western tip of Indiana. The building comprises dwelling houses, central public buildings, kitchens, baths, stores, offices, gymnasiums and botanic gardens. The caption for the model describes it as the "Design for a community of 2000 persons founded upon a principle commended by Plato, Lord Bacon and Sir Thomas More." Whitwell lived in New Harmony during 1825. 



"Law and taxation, as these are now necessarily administered, are evils of the greatest magnitude. They are a curse to every part of society." -- Robert Owen




 Cover: Anemone, designed by William Morris, 1876. Jacquard-woven silk and wool or silk damask fabric.

Table of Contents





Chapter One: Taxation as a Moral Quest


Part One: Taxation: The Tail Wags the Dog
An Experiment in Shared Sacrifice
Ends and Means
Taxation as a Moral Question of Sacrifice


Part Two: The Construal of Taxation and of Utopia
The Sinews of Taxation
Beyond Revenue: Defining a Tax
Defining Utopia


Chapter Two: Privacy Deprivation as Taxation

The Nature and Role of Privacy
Thomas More (1478–1535): No Spots for Secret Meetings
Big Brother's Eyes in Nineteen Eighty-Four
H. G. Wells (1866–1946): Indexing Humanity
Zamyatin (1884–1937): Who Are "They" and Who Are "We"?
Expectations of Privacy


Chapter Three: Taxing Access to Truth


Part One: Plato and Bacon
Opaque Government
Plato (c. 428–c. 348 BCE): The Republic of Lies
Francis Bacon (1561–1626): The Sacrifice to Science


Part Two: Orwell and Godwin
Totalitarian Methodologies: Orwell (1903–1950)
William Godwin (1756–1836): Anarchist Tax Policy


Chapter Four: Taxation by Required Work or Occupation


Part One: Plato and More
Work and Inequality
Matching Specialized Abilities to Society's Needs
Plato (c. 428–c. 348 BCE): The Ideal Job in the Republic
Thomas More (1478–1535): The Common Obligation of Common Daily Toil


Part Two: Bellamy, Gilman, Wells, and Skinner
Edward Bellamy (1850–1898): The Industrial Army
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860–1935): Half the Human Race Is Denied Free Productive Expression
H. G. Wells (1866–1946): Labor Laws and the Insult of Charity
B. F. Skinner (1904–1990): We Have Created Leisure Without Slavery


Part Three: Saint-Simon and Campanella
Henri Saint-Simon (1760–1825): The Human Spirit Follows a Predetermined Course
Tommaso Campanella (1568–1639): Assigned Labor in The City of the Sun


Chapter Five: Taxing the Family: Marriage, Childrearing, and Eugenics


Part One: Plato, More, Bacon, Wells, and Le Guin
Marriage Restrictions
Francis Bacon (1561–1626): Marriage Except for the Wise
H. G. Wells (1866–1946): Motherhood as a Service to the State
Le Guin (1929–2018): Anarchism and the Tax-Free Family in The Dispossessed


Part Two: Owen and Gilman
Robert Owen (1771–1858): The Tax on Childrearing
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860–1935): Motherhood and Eugenics in Herland


Part Three: Skinner, Eugenic Tax Procedures
B. F. Skinner (1904–1990): Eliminating the Meaner Emotions in Walden Two
Eugenic Tax Procedures: Campanella, Bellamy, Zamyatin, Huxley


Chapter Six: Taxation and Land Proprietorship


Part One: Harrington, Godwin, and Owen
The Land Question
James Harrington (1611–1677): Inheritance Tax in Oceana
William Godwin (1756–1836): Anarchy and Private Property
Robert Owen (1771–1858): Peaceful Revolution


Part Two: George, Tolstoy, Wells, and Nozick
Henry George (1839–1897): Progress, Land, and Poverty
Tolstoy (1828–1910): A Landowner's Struggle with the Land Problem
Wells (1866–1946): The Land Question in A Modern Utopia
Robert Nozick (1938–2002): Entitlement Theory


Chapter Seven: Taxation Purged from Utopia


Part One: Ayn Rand (1905–1982): Atlas Shrugged
Disparate Social Systems
Rand's Four Utopias
Rand's "Tax" System


Part Two: Robert Nozick (1938–2002): Utopia of Utopias
The Most Extensive State that Can Be Justified
The Developing State: The First Four Stages
The Fifth Stage
Taxes, Forced Labor, and the Minimal State
Utopia: The Minimal State Framework
Taxation in Nozick's Utopia of Utopias
In Closing