An acquaintance asked if the idea of a progressive gross receipts tax should be implemented worldwide.
I think that's a valid implication. Even so, there is a wide difference between what 'should' be done and
what 'can' be done. Seeking to accomplish such a reform world-wide
would be a major challenge. It is better to concentrate in an area
where success is possible. In the United States, companies deemed "Too
Big To Fail" provide the impetus for action (although, judging by the
underwhelming response to this question, that may be an optimistic
Corporations, like other organisms, consider self-preservation the first
law of nature. Though the methods of self-preservation vary, they are
generally applauded as "survival of the fittest". However, carried to
extremes, self-preservation can be destructive of the preserved entity's
habitat. Beneficial though Darwinism may be in a purely theoretical
sense, if our society and our environment are the specifics being
destroyed, we must do what we can to prevent it.
if tax were to be imposed on resource usage - then who would own the
resources? The government? How will that be done then, as at the
moment all resources are in the hands of corporations?"
Correct me if I'm wrong on this, but I believe, in the United States,
the resources are owned by the people and allocated by the government.
The problem is that, because the large corporations control the purse
strings of the political parties and the parties control the choice of
candidates for public office, the large corporations control the
government and are able to demand, and get, the resources they desire.
If the allocation is improper, the only way we can correct it is by
devising an electoral process that lets the people choose the best of
their number to advocate their interests in the government so resources
are allocated for the benefit of the people rather than the
re: "Just trying to get a better understanding of how this 'gross receipts tax' would work"
The problem of corporations "Too Big To Fail"
is a contemporary issue in the United States. The question of a
progressive gross receipts tax was posed because I'm not sure why this
solution to the problem is not being discussed. Among its many
advantages, a progressive tax on gross receipts has the remarkable
quality that, when a corporation grows beyond an economically
justifiable size, the tax acts to protect the public interest without
probably the reason why it has not yet been considered by the
government is that we are still putting money and profit/price over what
would be best for life on earth and thus also ourselves."
Is not the reason more likely to be "because
the large corporations control the purse strings of the political
parties and the parties control the choice of candidates for public
office"? Does this not put control of government in the hands of
the very people who put "money and price" above what is best for life
on earth? Theodore Roosevelt, in his State of the Union Address on
December 3, 1906, warned the American people of the "unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics". The circumstances we now condemn flow directly from that unholy alliance. We would do well to break its grasp on our government.
mean it would only make sense to make sure that we don't use up all the
resources and pollute the environment through what we use and produce
in our system - yet that seems to be a point of common sense that has
not actually hit the major players in this world - who ever that may be
that is in charge of resource distribution and management."
In looking for sense in the modern world, one must not overlook the fact
that, whatever the judicial rationale supporting the decision that
corporations are persons, corporations are not human. They have no
natural life-cycle of birth, adolescence, maturity, death. They have no
morality except that of pursuing their own interest. They have no
future, except the extent to which they can self-perpetuate. Using up
all the resources and polluting the environment have no meaning for
We can say that those who direct the operations of corporations are
human and 'should' want to avoid using up all the resources and
polluting the environment, but when those worries are set against the
almost incalculable benefits of power and recompense corporate
executives reap, such concerns are minor, indeed.
Probably the most difficult thing to accept is that these executives are
not vile persons. Most humans would act as they do, however much we
would like to believe otherwise. The pursuit of self-interest is
universal. The ability to suppress immediate gratification for future
welfare, particularly when the threat is based on reason rather than
experience and the welfare is of generations yet unborn, is not
abundant. It exists in sufficient quantity to benefit humanity, but is
widely dispersed. We've yet to devise a means of aggregating that
quality, so vital to the benefit of society.
"So, as long as we live in a system that is founded upon this crazy idea
that profit comes before life - government will never make decisions
that will actually really benefit the people, but will always make
decisions that benefit only the share-holders of major corporations -
and as you say, are the ones who are also in office, as the ones who
And that's the point. The problems we endure flow directly from our
political system. If we wish to live in a system that is not "founded
upon this crazy idea that profit comes before life", we must devise a
political process that filters the large number of citizens to find
those with the qualities necessary to advance our common interest. We
will probably find that a central feature of the process will be
harnessing human nature by making probity a necessary quality for those
who wish to achieve public office.
Lest I be misunderstood, I do not know what is best for life on earth.
What I know is, the people most disposed to seek such a goal exist among
us. We must devise a means of finding them and raising them to
leadership positions. It is unwise to allow control of government to
fall into the hands of corporate executives who profit by the laws the
It would be nice if there were a site where this topic could be explored
in detail and, hopefully, attract other thoughtful people to help
examine such questions objectively. Quora does not support the in-depth
investigation of serious issues and, being of modest internet ability, I
haven't found a site that does. If you know of one, I'd like to
examine this issue and some of its natural extensions in detail.
 Theodore Roosevelt (December 3, 1906)