The world’s first Laffer Curve?
For my birthday this weekend my wife gave me a voucher for my Kindle. This gave me a blissful weekend reading “Justinian’s Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe“. It is full of charming anecdotes about characters from antiquity, including emperor Anastasius:
In what is almost certainly the first documented exercise of what would come to be called trickle-down economics, Anastasius abolished a wide range of taxes that fell heavily on the empire’s most productive classes, its craftsmen and merchants. The emperor had argued, it turns out correctly, that a prosperous merchant would pay even more in fees that the treasury lost in taxes. Thus, despite three major wars, and several revolts by subjects opposing the emperor’s Monophysitism, the treasury at Anastasius’s death was richer by 320,000 pounds of gold than it had been at his accession.