A question of Justice and Equity regarding a flute

Imagine three children, Robert, Carl, and Samuel arguing about a flute. Robert made the flute, and therefore naturally says it's his. Poor Carl, unlike Robert and Samuel, doesn't have any other toys to play with. Samuel also claims the flute because he is the only one who is actually able to play it.

Who should get the flute, and why?

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I smiled.

Let's hope we don't have a patent infringement here, even if Robert thinks he designed this flute. Also don't forget if any public performance of copyrighted music entitles the songwriter(s) to a royalty. I think we need about three lawyers to sort all this out.

Oh hell, it's a just a trick question assuming Robert is not Chinese.

Ha!

Robert made the flute so the flute is his property if he chooses to give it to one of the others it is entirely his choice. However if he made the flute to be played than he should offer to loan the flute to Samuel so both Robert and Carl can listen to the music and also Roberts ability at making the flute can be tested. If it works out he makes good flutes than he can make more and show the other two how to also make one so they could all prosper

In the larger picture, do you also agree that people should choose if they wish to pay income tax? Or at least choose their own level of contribution?

I'd like a percentage system, with an entry threshhold. 

The first chunk, say $15,000 is tax free, and after that everyone pays, say 25% of their earnings.  No deductions, no funny calculations.  Someone earning $115,000 a year would be paying $25,000 in tax.  Someone earning $1,015,000 a year would be paying $250,000 in tax.  Someone earning $16,000 a year would be paying $250 in tax.

All very straightforward, no deductions or rebates.  But of course there would then be lots of unemployed accountants :)

I'm a bit ideologically opposed to tax on income, but realistically I doubt it can be removed. Thus a system like the one you are prescribing, technically called a flat tax, is a very good idea. FYI, it is quite common in Eastern Europe.

Personally I prefer taxes on consumption and property. Reducing consumption is more laudable than reducing income, and promoting efficient land use is also something I regard as positive.  

Personally I prefer taxes on consumption and property. Reducing consumption is more laudable than reducing income, and promoting efficient land use is also something I regard as positive.

This sounds most reasonable to me, as long as different types of consumption had different tax rates. Basic food & clothing, medical, shelter,  0%; yachts and private jets for pleasure the highest rates, and so on.

But I've not studied economics, and I envision a pretty complicated rate structure that's dynamic, based on what's deemed healthiest for personal, state, and world. Whatever it is will never be a perfect system, and a lot of its success will depend on how well educated people are and how close they are to agreement. Times may only get more and more complicated.

A tax designed to reduce the consumption of music might be good. A lot of time is converted from potentially productive to nonproductive due to music.

Good example. Maybe just tax according to the cost (if any) of its physical media?

I admit again I haven't studied this. But it would be interesting to me if a standardized system of resource & materials tracking could exist. E.g., one could easily go online to discover how much tantalum their phone uses. Tantalum is one of those minerals that are extracted from Africa, at high cost to human lives, there.

I'm not saying it would be easy to implement. I'm just saying it's an important awareness and overview wrt human and resource costs we normally just ignore, and leave up to the profitable supply channels, corporations, and corrupt governments.

Personally I prefer taxes on consumption and property. Reducing consumption is more laudable than reducing income, and promoting efficient land use is also something I regard as positive. 

Well I half agree with you there, which is unusual. :D

Taxing property has the bad effect of sometimes forcing people to sell that property in order to pay the tax--because they have no other real source of income.  Family farms have been sold to pay inheritance taxes (and "big agro" is all too happy to scoop em up), old people forced out of their homes... to pay a property tax that skyrocketed simply because there is a real estate boom and/or the politicians wanted more money for whatever fucked up project they are pushing.

When you tax someone's property, you are taking a cut of the "seed corn" not the "harvest"  Neither the consumption nor the income tax do that.  But I do prefer consumption taxes over income taxes.

In some areas, there is what is known as Homestead Exemption - in my parents' case, they, for some reason, were exempt from paying property tax. When I took over the property, after their death, however, I was required to pay it annually.

Where I live now, Homestead Exemption is anything but exempt - taxes are merely postponed from age 65, until after the owner's death, at which time, they become due and payable.

And the majority of my property tax - fully 85-90% - goes not to the county, but to the local school system.

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