Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Quote of the Day: John Stuart Mill on voting

It is important, that the assembly which votes the taxes, either general or local,
should be elected exclusively by those who pay something towards the taxes
imposed. Those who pay no taxes, disposing by their votes of other
people’s money, have every motive to be lavish and none to economise.
       “As far as money matters are concerned, any power of voting possessed
by them is a violation of the fundamental principle of free government . . .
It amounts to allowing them to put their hands into other people’s
pockets for any purpose which they think fit to call a public one. . . ”

- John Stuart Mill, from his Considerations on Representative Government [1861]


  1. If the right to vote was restricted to net taxpayers only, we would see quite a different government. I've long been of the opinion that only ratepayers should be able to vote in local body elections.

  2. Such a policy would concentrate voting power more towards the middle class, since a lot of well-off folk don't pay any net tax after all their deductions are taken into account.

  3. Imagine a world like that! Where the productive did not have to ask permission of the unproductive.I think a pole tax would make the most sense for local government.


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