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Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Maths for Everyone

The Trouble with Maths

1 comment:

  1. here is a simple example of what i'm talking about: there is a massive argument raging in the Australian parliament and among the Australian people about a proposed carbon tax.

    it is the most inane argument one could imagine - predicated entirely upon the general public's ignorance of the simplest of arithmetic operations: addition.

    a government has to raise money somehow to pay for public works and services. one way to do this is to systematically take a percentage of commercial transactions - to tax them.

    if a government taxes certain transactions more than others, it can influence the behaviour of the economy and its people, as buyers flock to those goods and services which provide better value for money.

    a carbon tax is not an additional burden upon the economy because it is a replacement for other taxes that would need to be levied instead to raise the same annual total.

    but neither the right wing nor the left wing of politics has mentioned this in their public soundbites, either because they think the public wouldn't understand it, or because they don't understand it themselves.

    here is another example: income tax. arguments about income tax are always predicated upon the fallacious notion that it is the employee who pays the tax, because that unfortunately is the way the taxation mechanism works (which is the wrong way, of course!).

    income tax is actually a levy on employment - if income tax were less, a company could pay its employees less. and vice-versa. in the long run, income tax has no significant effect upon disposable income of employees, except when the rules are biased towards allowing higher-income earners to write off higher expenses, which is indeed how they are so biased, yielding an economic system that is inherently unfair.

    all because people don't know how to add.