On Merit

Robert H. Frank, Success and Luck. Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy. Princeton University Press, 2016

This morning I came across the comments section of an Italian online newspaper, under an article discussing Italy’s system of taxation and criteria of fiscal progression. One comment has struck me, one in which the author argued that he feels that a high rate of income tax is profoundly unjust.

As evidence, he mentioned his own experience: last year he spent 20 weeks travelling abroad for his company and worked hard, and at the end of the year he received a substantial (though unexpected) bonus. He ended up in a higher tax bracket and almost half of his bonus went to the tax office, despite his hard work and, allegedly, his good professional results. I suspect his disappointment is not unique.

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