Defiance in Taxation and Governance

Defiance in Taxation and Governance

Resisting and Dismissing Authority in a Democracy

Valerie Braithwaite

This innovative book presents a theory of tax defiance, integrating five years of research on people’s hopes, fears and expectations of the tax system and the authority that administers it.

Chapter 8: Integrative Models of Defiance

Valerie Braithwaite

Subjects: economics and finance, public finance, politics and public policy, public policy, regulation and governance, social policy and sociology, economics of social policy


The seeing of self as, with all other selves, creating, demands a new attitude . . . The fallacy of self-and-others fades away and there is only self-in-and-throughothers, only others so firmly rooted in the self and so fruitfully growing there that sundering is impossible. Mary Parker Follett 1965: 8 [c. 1918] The purpose of this chapter is to reconcile tensions and capitalize on synergies. The most important tension to resolve is the extent to which defiance is an expression of personal preferences and values, and the extent to which it is a response to an institution’s unfairness and low integrity. At its most fundamental level, defiance has been considered a relational concept in so far as it occurs against the action or will of something or someone. The conception that was put forward in the early chapters implied conscious engagement, one with the other. The implication was that institution building would soften the desire of individuals to express their values in ways that did not serve collective interests. This conception needs to be revised in light of the data. The model of defiance developed here needs to accommodate the not insignificant effects of personal values in the last chapter that led individuals to pursue other authorities who might deliver their wish list, rendering government authority almost irrelevant. It seems that defiance may be a reaction actively directed against authority (resistance) or it may be a reaction of active engagement with alternative authorities that promise liberation (dismissiveness). Defiance against an authority centres on...

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