By David Allen Calhoun, University of Aberdeen
This paper grows out of a larger project that seeks to excavate theological perspectives on taxation throughout the history of the western world. Here, I argue that Thomas Aquinas can help us re-envision tax by speaking to three facets of what I call the contemporary tax predicament. He does so by operating with a “baseline,” against which tax justice can be measured, that is derived from the interplay of natural and positive law.
I discuss the contemporary predicament first, then move to an account of Aquinas’ thoughts on property and taxation, and finally construct a Thomistic tax philosophy that is susceptible to comparison with other tax philosophies.
This paper was a finalist in the Intersect Project Ph.D. Student Challenge Symposium. The symposium facilitated broader discussion in the church and academy about the intersection of faith, work and economics.