Taxing Multinationals: The Meat Myth and a Global, Ethical Tax
Professor of Political Economy (Retired), University of Padua, Italy
*Corresponding Author: Anna Pellanda, Professor of Political Economy (Retired), University of Padua, Italy.
Received: July 05, 2021; Published: August 09, 2021
This contribution calls for the creation of a tax on meat coming from intensive farming. It draws on the novel “minimum global tax” on digital multinationals proposed in recent months by the American government, which has met with international approval as a way to deal with the problem of “tax havens” used to evade and avoid any fair taxation on these companies’ enormous profits. The validity of this new tax is seen as deriving precisely from its global reach. In other words, it is designed to leave no loopholes, neither on the demand nor on the supply side. Such a globalized taxation is set against the tax competition between different countries that has been operating to date.
The great power of multinationals - be they in the digital or the meat industry - lies in a number of factors, one of which is their size (examined here in our comparison between the two sectors). Another fundamental element on which the multinationals leverage is consumer behavior, as studied by Duesenberry in his time. When it comes to meat consumption, this is where we see what J. Rifkin described as the myth about meat. A myth extremely harmful to human beings and the environment alike, given the very hazardous conditions in which animals in intensive breeding farms are fed and housed.
In devising a new tax on meat, it would be important to consider those already levied on cigarettes, sugar and carbon, which have revealed weaknesses that need to be avoided. An econometric analysis should be conducted to establish appropriate tax rates for different cuts and types of meat, and to calculate the prices at which it is sold in different countries. As these prices are currently kept very low (given the multinationals’ production methods), the new tax should be global and high enough to prevent meat consumption from continuing to damage human health, the climate, and animal wellbeing.The distinction between taxes, duties and levies is disregarded in this paper.
Keywords: Taxing Meat Multinationals; Meat Production Methods; Damage Caused; Attainable Goals
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