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How to Tax the Rich: Holy Cross Professor Shares Lessons From Ancient Greece

The Conversation
November 4th, 2020 by 
Thomas Martin, professor and Jeremiah W. O'Connor chair of classics. Photo by John Buckingham

The debate over taxing the rich is nothing new, but it’s as relevant a topic now as ever. And while most are familiar with the concept in the frame of modern times, many are not aware that the question of whether and how to structure these taxes dates back centuries – to Ancient Greece, to be exact.

In an article for The Conversation, Thomas Martin, professor and Jeremiah W. O’Connor chair of classics at the College of the Holy Cross, explains the ancient Greek tax code and the ethical reasoning behind it.

According to Martin, in ancient Athens, it was considered an honor and a privilege to pay taxes and only the wealthiest in society did so. “To be a rich taxpayer who was good and useful to his fellow citizens counted even more than money in the bank. And this invaluable public service profited all Athenians by keeping their democracy alive century after century.”

Professor Martin specializes in the ancient history of democracy, its roots in Athens and how it compares with modern American democracy. He teaches courses on Athenian democracy, Hellenism and the Roman Empire.

To read the full article, go to TheConversation.com.

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