A Cosmic Visitor’s Take on Tax

It is a human tendency to assume the world we are born into is as it should be — a Panglossian assumption that colors our understanding of the abstract, like tax policy.

To get grounded in what is, without assuming it is natural, let’s try a thought experiment. Imagine you are a researcher from a distant planet, part of a team sent to stealthily observe and report your findings. Telemetry has revealed the watery and volcanic nature of our planet, so you focus on the organized activities of Earth’s top sentients. Your protocol requires you to identify the biggest common enterprises first and then work your way down.

So what would lead your report? What is the biggest human enterprise? Industry? Digital activity? Military? Healthcare? Food production? No, the biggest enterprise, by far, is tax.

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