The redistributive consequences of paying off the national debt: Ricardo and his plan Aldo Barba Cambridge Journal of Economics, Published: 30 September 2020 Abstract
This article analyses Ricardo’s plan for paying off the national debt by a tax on property. The main thesis is that the capital levy, although apparently conceived as equally shared among all the components of the owning class, would imply substantial redistribution of wealth. The argument is developed by discussing the quantitative estimates provided by Ricardo about the amount of capital to be subjected to taxation. By establishing a connection between these estimates and the main statistical figures that were at the centre of the economic debate at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, it is shown in what manner the burden of this extraordinary measure would be divided between capitalists and landlords.