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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

An Inquiry into Tax Farming

By Sarah Raplee

Our suggested Genre-ista blog theme this month is Death and/or Taxes. In doing some research into the history of taxation (because the history of death is too weird even for me), I came across the ancient practice of Tax Farming. The conversation with my flummoxed self when I read the words  
Tax Farming went something like this:


ME:  Shazam! You can farm taxes? Who knew?

MYSELF:  It’s probably illegal, like growing opium or babies.

ME: I wonder if they’re farming tax payments or tax rates

MYSELF:  Either way, how do the farmers find pickers they can trust? And how do they turn a profit?

ME:  I wonder if they farm taxes in Farmville. If I played Farmville, I’d probably know all about tax farming. I knew I’d regret blocking all those annoying Facebook posts.

MYSELF:  Naw, if players farmed taxes in Farmville, it would have made the news. Every crazy, useless thing people do makes the news. 

ME:  What do you mean?

MYSELF:  Don’t get me started! 

ME: (Trying to focus on writing this post) You don’t think it means Taxes, on Farming – do you?

TAX FARMING?

MYSELF:  Click on the link and find out.

ME:  (Blinking) Not even close.

MYSELF:  (Reading from http://www.taxworld.org/History/tax_farming.htm ) “Tax farming is the principle of assigning the responsibility for tax revenue collection to private citizens or groups. Tax farming occurred in Egypt, Rome, Great Britain, and Greece. The principle was…”

ME:  (Shuddering) Geez Louise, those Roman publicani were more like government Mafia-type enforcers than IRS Agents. And the Greek Ptolemies messed up the Egyptian system by instituting tax farming. I hereby renounce my interest in this evil practice!
DOWN WITH THE PUBLICANI!

MYSELF:  What are those other historical tax terms? Danegeld? Scuttage? Aids?

ME: (Yawning) Fodder for another post. Who chose these Genre-ista themes, anyway?

MYSELF: We did. With Judith.

Me:  Well, it’s a good thing the other Genre-istas wrote such interesting posts, because I got nothin’.

8 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

What a fun post, Sarah. Yes, I am guilty of coming up with these topics - along with you. Why is it at the time they seem so awesome! but when I sit down to write not so much?

Sarah Raplee said...

Beats me, Judith! LOL

I drew a blank until I started riffing on tax farming. That was fun!

Tam Linsey said...

Hahaha! loved getting inside your head, Sarah. I've had conversations with myself like that.

Sarah Raplee said...

Glad you got a laugh out of this, Tam! Nothing like writer's block to bring out the crazy in me. :)

Paty Jager said...

Hysterical! Loved it!

Sarah Raplee said...

Thanks for stopping by, Paty. Glad I put a smile on your face. :)

Diana Mcc. said...

thanks Sarah!! Got a good laugh out of this post! I agree, who does figure out the subjects for posts? and if it is you and Judith, why do you have trouble when it is your turn to post? I just hope the little old lady sitting hunched over the computer is not the blog queen?!?!

Sarah Raplee said...

I live to entertain, Diana!

The Genre-ista Topics are only suggestions - tools for the Gs to use if they want to get the juices flowing. Writing off-topic is perfectly okay.

The trouble this time was I just wasn't inspired. At least, not until I ran across Tax Farming. Then my imagination hit the ground running.