Cleaning the Muck of Ages from the Windows into the Soul of Tax

John Passant

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The aim of this paper is to provide readers with an insight into Marx's methods as a first step to understanding income tax more generally but with specific reference to Australia's income tax system. I do this by introducing readers to the ideas about the totality, that is, capitalism, appearance, and form, and the dialectic in Marx's hands. This will involve looking at income tax as part of the bigger picture of capitalism and understanding that all things are related and changes in one produce changes in all. Appearances can be deceptive, and we need to delve below the surface to understand the reality or essence of income and, hence, of income tax. Dialectics is the study of change. By developing an understanding of the processes of contradiction and change in society, the totality, we can then start to understand income tax and its role in our current society more deeply. To do that, we need to understand the ways of thinking and approaches that Marx and others have used. Only then, armed with the tools that we have uncovered, we can begin the process of cleaning the muck of ages from the windows into the soul of tax and move from the world of appearance to the essence of tax.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-216
Number of pages40
JournalBritish Journal of American Legal Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


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