I like Dr. Joseph Tainter’s hypothesis on increasing complexity. The idea that we solve societal problems with ever increasing complexity (infrastructure, laws, policy, government, enforcement, justice, punishment etc…) is a great way to boil down to one word the problem facing most of the West.
He’s right that “complexity costs” and there is a trajectory of diminishing returns as a society gets bigger, and more layers of government, legislation, enforcement, and of course; taxes to pay for it all - are piled on top of one another.
Eventually, society stops moving forward, even though the costs keep rising just to maintain the status quo.
At this point, a guy had better have been planning for this day as the costs of living will be skyrocketing, yet your standard of living will start to decline as an overtly top heavy control system sucks the society dry of resources. To me, this means abusive taxation of the basic necessities of modern life will become the norm.
I’m also a fan of the theoretical economic model “The Laffer Curve” which states correctly (IMHO) that government revenues are $0.00 when taxes are levied at both 0% and 100% - real revenue does not follow the tax% charged over 40-50%, and drops unpredictably to $0.00 as you approach 100% taxation.
As a result, well before a society maxes out their tax headroom, their revenues start to drop due to taxpayers avoiding the higher taxes, working less or not at all, and leaving the jurisdiction altogether.
I’m not a doomsday economic meltdown type of guy. But if I take what both Arthur Laffer and Joseph Tainter say, I can form a realistic, believable (to me anyway) economic crunch in the West that could happen in my lifetime. Both these theories are 100% correct (IMHO of course), and we can actually see the proof for them out there right now.
I believe that conventional energy (heating, Hydro, Gasoline) in all forms will really start getting hammered tax wise over the next 20 years, at least in my area. That’s one big reason I’m here at DOW .