Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Maslow-Based Sales Tax

VAT/GST for items according to hierarchy of needs
(+1, -1)
  [vote for,

Maslow is unpopular around here and in various other places, so please don't take this as meaning that I agree with the hierarchy of needs.

VAT, as we call it in the UK, is a percentage tax supposedly levied on "luxury" items, which unaccountably include sanitary towels but not caviar (at some point, I haven't checked recently). According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, things which are considered luxuries by some become necessities for others when other needs are satisfied.

The proposal is therefore that rather than paying a set price for things, VAT is charged to the consumer according to their Maslow needs. Consequently, someone who is economically at the bottom of the pile will be charged VAT for everything which is not absolutely necessary for life, so for them only the likes food, clothes and shelter are zero- rated. It will cost them more to visit the theatre, cinema, have secure accommodation, such as padlocks or paying for a locksmith, buying a burglar or smoke alarm and the like, because to them those things are luxuries.

Slightly further up the income/asset scale, locks, alarms, personal attack alarms and so forth become zero-rated.

Still wealthier people are allowed friends without paying the friend tax poorer people must pay, and of course the same applies to sexual relationships (but some people might say those have costs anyway).

Yet richer people do not need to pay tax on their feelings of accomplishment, so if they do a particularly good job at work, they will be paid the full whack for that achievement because it has become a need for them. Poorer people who, say, clean the toilets really well and are proud of that accomplishment will lose wages as a result because to them that's a luxury and must therefore be taxed.

Moving on up, the 1%, super-rich, whoever, will not be charged for any creative hobbies or work. Hence naive and outsider artists will be taxed for their creations, whether or not they sell them, but the likes of Damien Hurst and Tracey Emin will be allowed to sell their art without taxation.

If anyone can tell me what the heck this idea is trying to say in allegorical terms I would be most grateful. Oh, and fishbones are fine BTW because it's quite nasty isn't it?

nineteenthly, Jul 20 2017

Sub-replacement fertility https://en.wikipedi...placement_fertility
Happening now ... [8th of 7, Jul 31 2017]


       This is a straight lift from notes of the recent Conservative Party away day policy brain storming session, yeah?
calum, Jul 20 2017

       Well it did occur to me that it was something of a well of despair [calum].
nineteenthly, Jul 20 2017

       Interestingly, longitudinal experiments / studies show that Tories tend to prefer the wire mother.
calum, Jul 20 2017

       Ooh, ooh, I can tell you; Maslow's original idea was itself politically regressive. This idea is just a small exaggeration of those existing tendencies so as to make them more visible, like any good satire.
pertinax, Jul 22 2017

       Thanks [pertinax] and actually yes, this has changed my mind about what Maslow's hierarchy is about. There's an element of the idea that the privileged are somehow so much more sensitive than the rest of us and that the poor hardly know that they suffer.
nineteenthly, Jul 23 2017

       Wait a minute, [bigsleep]; [19] just said what's changed - namely, his mind. And what's a Maslow surplus? A surplus of what over what? Sorry, don't mean to be aggressive, but your anno seems at cross purposes with the preceding ones. Could you explain further?
pertinax, Jul 23 2017

       Only with a semi-automatic weapon, apparently...   

       // Apple and Google and big industry you dimwits //   

       You expect anyone to believe that ? "Everyone" knows that it's the Vatican and Qatari jihadis behind it all ... it was in the National Enquirer, so it must be true.   

       Joe Public is hacked off because representative democracy is failing to deliver. What a surprise. Maybe it's time to ditch the second-milennium "representative" bit and implement continuous semi-direct democracy? Oooh, but all the vested interests wouldn't like that.   

       Oh dear, how sad, never mind.   

       The only people who think politicians are necessary are politicians. Anyone else see the flaw in that ?
8th of 7, Jul 23 2017

       You could flip this and make it a progressive tax, if one is on their way to achieving 'self-actualization' they shouldn't mind taxes kicking in on food and shelter, etc.
AusCan531, Jul 23 2017

       // he // - I prefer "it".   

       Maybe politicians are the only people who realise they're necessary because of Dunning-Kruger, but I would tend to agree with you [ of ].
nineteenthly, Jul 24 2017

       Surely some of them are trapez*?
nineteenthly, Jul 26 2017

       Yes, but Focaccia came up with some seriously nice designs...
8th of 7, Jul 26 2017

       //something of a well of despair//   

       If you'd like to drink from a different well, [nineteenthly], you could try White's biography of Jean Genet. At first glance, it might not seem like an optimistic book, since it charts a man's progress from being an unpleasant person to being an unhappy one. However, it offers (unintentionally) two interesting counter- Maslow points. One is that Genet seems to have started by "self- actualising", long before securing his other needs. The other, which is more important, is that in middle age he seems to have switched quite abruptly from being a psychopath to not being one - rather to his own annoyance. Maslow reckoned this was impossible, but it seems to me entirely feasible when you compare it with Wittgenstein's transition from his earlier to his later thinking.
pertinax, Jul 29 2017

       Re. politicians, I think a bit of devil's advocacy is called for here. I don't like my chances of surviving long in a state of anarchy, so I'm glad that institutions exist. Existing, they must be run by someone, and if we go for pure direct democracy, that will tend to be dominated by people with nothing better to do. (Trotskyists used to approve of this as "democracy of the committed" - i.e., themselves). If those people aren't politicians, then they can't be voted out. Hence, there should be politicians.   

       Conceded, there is something very wrong with the kind of politicians currently on offer. This something can be delineated by comparing diachronically three taxonomies of politicians, viz., by Benjamin Disraeli, Anthony Wedgewood Benn and John & Jackie Kennedy. What this comparison shows is ...   

       Sorry I'm out of time. Will have to explain later.
pertinax, Jul 29 2017

       The idea of making luxuries well outside the means of poor people sounds good to me, the minor indulgences add up. however when faced with price taxgs 2 or 3 times what we can afford we tend to feel less tempted. I for example am tempted to buy clothes that cost 3 days pay but would feel no such but in a very stoic way can reject buying a coat that costs a months salary.   

       As for the rest of the idea that was just nasty.
bob, Jul 30 2017

       Asimov described this decades ago ...   

       // As for the rest of the idea that was just nasty //   

       No, that's unfair. It wasn't just nasty; it was also specious, badly reasoned, and impractical.   

       There are other errors, but those are the principal ones.
8th of 7, Jul 30 2017

       Birth rates in many advanced (?) nations have already fallen well below parity. If it weren't for immigration, populations would be falling. Japan is a notable case, where the demographic is shifting rapidly towards an elderly population, causing considerable concern.   


       Oscilloscopes are much nicer things than children, so it's hardly a surprise.
8th of 7, Jul 31 2017

       // The idea of making luxuries well outside the means of poor people sounds good to me //   

       It reminds me of shaming poor people for eating lobster once a year.
notexactly, Aug 15 2017


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