Writing in the first decade of the seventeenth century, Tommaso Campanella (1568–1639) studied tax erosion and proposed remedies that he promised would “transform a harm into a benefit.” The factual evolution of tax revenues and prices under the monetary and fiscal systems of his time confirms his diagnosis. A simple model built on his assumptions shows how clipping produces tax erosion in a commodity money system, and it illustrates how Campanella's plan not only eliminates this harm but also produces the benefit of higher government purchases at the expense of rentiers. A broader reading of his work clarifies the distributional implications of his proposal in the light of his radical egalitarianism and his goal of a united, harmonious society.

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