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International Monetary Fund

IT IS HARD to think of anything that some government, at some point, has not taxed. Playing cards, urine, fireplaces, slaves, religious minorities, and windows have all at some point attracted the attention of the tax collector. Nowadays we think of income taxes, value-added taxes, taxes on cigarettes, and the like as the key revenue instruments. But the basic principles for understanding and evaluating all taxes are much the same. In this, the second of two articles on taxation, we examine these principles. In “Taxes in Practice,” we applied them to some current controversies.

Ruud A. de Mooij and Mr. Michael Keen

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

Monica Prasad and Mr. Harold James

By combating malaria with mosquito nets or building schools and providing basic sanitation, philanthropy is helping transform the developing world. Rich donors are devoting fortunes—many of them earned through computer software, entertainment, and venture capitalism— to defeating poverty and improving lives, supplementing and in some cases surpassing official aid channels.From billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to Aliko Dangote and George Soros, the titans of capitalism are backing good causes with their cash. Whether financing new vaccines, building libraries, or buying up Amazon rain forest to protect the environment, philanthropists are supporting innovations and new approaches that are changing lives and building dreams.This issue of F&D looks at the world of targeted giving and social entrepreneurship.“ Philanthropy’s role is to get things started,” says Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who is the world’s most generous giver. “We used foundation funds to set up a system to make market forces work in favor of the poor.” He says that catalytic philanthropy can make a big difference. “Good ideas need evangelists. Forgotten communities need advocates.” Former U.S. President Bill Clinton tells us that networks of creative cooperation between government, business, and civil society can get things done better to solve the world’s most pressing problems.Also in this issue, Prakash Loungani profiles superstar economist Jeffrey Sachs, who helped campaign for debt relief for developing economies and championed the Millennium Development Goals. We look at how, instead of spending commodity price windfalls on physical investments, which are often sources of corruption, governments of poor countries are sometimes well advised to hand some of the income over to their citizens. We examine moves by major central banks to ease our way out of the crisis enveloping advanced economies in our Data Spotlight column, and we hear about how China’s growth inspires creativity in the West.

Roumeen Islam

This paper focuses on overcoming the challenges of globalization. The paper highlights that globalization has the potential to make all individuals better off. However, there is no assurance that all individuals will be better off or that all changes will be positive. The studies that show that, on average, poverty declines with economic growth are encouraging. But averages hide the negative impact on individual countries and on certain groups. In addition, there are important questions about the relationships between economic policies and outcomes, especially the impact of macroeconomic and structural reform policies on poverty.

Mr. Oussama Kanaan

The accords signed by Israel and the PLO in 1993 and 1994 heralded greater prosperity for Palestinians. But an adverse external trade environment has discouraged private investment, and economic conditions have deteriorated.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.
Michael M. Cernea

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

Miss. A Cheasty

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.