Thursday, March 4, 2010

In Memoriam: Gygax on Taxes

In memory of E. Gary Gygax, who died two years ago today, here are some of his thoughts on taxes, from the first edition of the Dungeon Master's Guide:

DUTIES, EXCISES, FEES, TARIFFS, TAXES, TITHES, AND TOLLS

What society can exist without revenues? What better means of assuring revenues than taxation, and all of the names used in the title of this section are synonymous with taxes - but if it is called something different perhaps the populace won't take too much umbrage at having to pay and pay and pay...

If the Gentle Reader thinks that the taxation he or she currently undergoes is a trifle strenuous for his or her income, pity the typical European populace of the Middle Ages. They paid all of the above, tolls being very frequent, with those trying to escape them by use of a byway being subject to confiscation of all goods with a fine and imprisonment possible also. Every petty noble made an extraction, municipalities taxed, and the sovereign was the worst of all. (Eventually merchants banded together to form associations to protect themselves from such robbery, but peasants and other commoners could only revolt and dream of better times.)

Plus ca change...

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