Reforming Our Taxation Arrangements to Promote Global Gender Justice

Philosophical Topics 37 (2):141-160 (2009)
Abstract
In this article I examine how reforming our international tax regime could be an important vehicle for realizing key aspects of global gender justice. Ensuring all,including and especially multinationals, pay their fair share of taxes is crucial to ensuring that all countries, especially developing countries, are able to fund education, job training, infrastructural development, programs which promote gender equity, and so forth, thereby enabling all countries to help themselves better. I discuss various positive proposals for levying global taxes. I review why overtly gender-neutral taxes can sometimes have unintended gendered consequences, disproportionately burdening or benefiting individuals, according to their gender. Any endorsement of global taxes must take this concern into account. Fortunately there is good fit between the rationale for the Tobin tax and the way in which it can be harnessed to promote gender equity, so of the taxes discussed here, it emerges as one of the most promising. However, as I also argue, eliminating tax havens and blocking avenues that currently facilitate tax escape must also be part of the agenda to promote gender equity, given the vast amounts of revenue that currently escape taxation. In a context of globalization, fiscal policies cannot achieve equity (including gender equity) at national levels alone. Many concerns, such as clamping down on tax evasion and harmonizing corporate tax rates, can only effectively be tackled at a global level. As I also discuss, feasible arrangements for tackling such issues are available, as are mechanisms for collecting and disbursing funds in ways that promote accountability and compliance. Failing to reform our tax arrangements means that the basic institutional structure of the global economy is unjust and also involves gender injustice. Gender consciousness is indispensable for developing an adequate account of taxation justice and therefore a global institutional structure that is gender just
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