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Essentials of Fiscal Sociology

Conception of an Encyclopedia


Edited By Jürgen G. Backhaus

The issue whether fiscal sociology is ripe for an encyclopedia is the hidden agenda of this project. The authors are international experts from the old and the new world, from Italy to Estonia, the Netherlands to Russia, and of course, the United States. The essays cover both, the history of fiscal sociology and recent and future issues, such as the making of the Estonian constitution, which emphasizes fiscal austerity, and the emerging European constitution.


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Europe’s Fiscal Constitution Auke. R. Leen


1. Introduction In a public consultation paper, the European Union (EU) asks its citizens and Member States to come up with ideas how to reform the EU Budget. The key research challenge of our paper – to answer the consultation paper – is to give a novel angle from the point of fiscal sociology and Austrian economics towards the selection among the alternative budgetary powers made available to the EU. We do suggest guidelines for exclusion and inclusion of provisions in the EU- Budget that are not prizes captured in negotiations, often partisan struggles, between the Member States. The focus is on the normative evaluation of quasi- permanent budgetary institutions and their tasks. We do also suggest that such a constitutional framework creates trust and facilitates a robust democratic debate. The emphasis is not, as is usually the case based on a benevolent EU, to enhance economic efficiency (making the EU “work better”) and / or to increase the equity of budget rules. We will put to test a different approach: an analysis that we define by the limits it places on the powers of Brussels, an egoistic despot, to “tax and spend”. Though the model of a budget-maximizing Leviathan-like EU bureau- cracy, a discretionary agency, may seem extreme, the norms laid down may pos- sible prove acceptable as embodying a minimax strategy: to ensure that the best remains a possibility by guarding against the worst. 2. Background And Approach To The Problem Since the rejection of the draft Constitutional Treaty in...

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