The Muslim Conquest and Tax Exemption
This excess of taxes helped the Muslims carry on their conquests.
- The people were subjected to a simple tribute, paid and collected with ease.
- They were far happier in obeying a barbarous nation than a corrupt government that enslaved them.
Chapter 17: Troop Increase
The Muslim conquest induced our princes to keep up an exorbitant number of troops. As soon as one prince augments his forces, the others do the same. This leads to the public ruin. Each monarch keeps as many armies as if his people were in danger of being exterminated. They call this this general effort of all against all as “peace”.
The riches and commerce of the world ruined Europe. By increasing our troops, we all become soldiers and become like the Mongols. Great princes, not satisfied with hiring or buying troops of petty states, paid subsidies for alliances and threw away their money.
This leads to the perpetual augmentation of taxes. Instead of increasing their revenues, they cannibalize their capitals, which then prevents any solution. Governments usually mortgage their funds even in peacetime, and so they ruin themselves during wartime.
Chapter 18: Tax Exemptions
The great eastern empires have a maxim of exempting such provinces from taxes. It should be extended to monarchical states. A country is more oppressed if no such rule took place because, as the monarch of the province prince levies still neither more nor less, the state becomes bound for the whole.
In order to ease a village that pays badly, they tax another that pays better.
- The former still pays taxes, while the latter is ruined.
- The people in the former grow desperate from the fear of exactions.
- The people in the latter grow desperate from the fear of new burdens.
A well-regulated government should set aside a determinate sum for contingencies. A government is the same as individuals who are ruined when they spend more than they earn.
Some people think that provinces might fraudulently give low taxes to be exempt from taxes. I answer that this taxation’s aim is justice and to prevent the ruin of the state.