PRESENTATION/ASSOCIATION COPY OF CONSTRUCTIVE INCOME TAXATION, INSCRIBED BY IRVING FISHER TO HIS FAMOUS ECONOMICS RIVAL, PROFESSOR FRANK A. FETTER
FISHER, Irving and FISHER, Herbert W. Constructive Income Taxation. A Proposal for Reform. New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1942. Octavo, original green cloth, original dust jacket. $3200.
First edition, presentation copy, of this book offering a proposal for a new income tax system based on the idea of taxing only “real” income, inscribed by Fisher to a fellow prominent American neoclassical economist and one of his most famous rivals: “To Professor Frank A. Fetter with the compliments and high esteem of Irving Fisher. April, 1943,” in scarce original dust jacket.
In this work, Fisher and Fisher offer a persuasive proposal for an income tax system under which money would only be considered income if it was available to the taxpayer, thereby encouraging, above all, saving. Of course, their conception of saving takes various forms, but the idea is for the taxpayer to provide their own security and for the government to encourage that by removing taxation from all funds channeled into the sorts of saving behaviors it endorses. During the war era, with its attendant privation, this sort of do-it-yourself thriftiness made the plan a subject of much interest. Considered “the father of monetary economics” (Pressman, 91), “Irving Fisher was, in the opinion of many, the leading economic theorist in the United States during the first half of the 20th century” (ANB). The man to whom this book was inscribed, Frank Fetter, was an American economist from the Austrian School. His primary work, The Principles of Economics, was responsible for greatly increasing America’s fascination with the Austrian School. His treatise introduced an entire generation to economists including Böhm-Bawerk, von Wieser, von Mises, and Hayek. Fetter was known for his opposition to Marshall’s ideas on land as capital. His reassessment of those ideas have been credited with prompting mainstream economists to abandon the Georgist idea of land as a unique factor of production and the need for a special theory of ground rent. Instead, Fetter supporter a subjective theory of value. He believed in the importance of time preference and criticized Irving Fisher for moving away from the pure time preference theory that he had espoused in The Rate of Interest (1907). This led to a famous (though cordial) feud between the economists. They were, despite their disagreements, both considered to be “neoclassical” economists and they were both American. They had both been signatories on a petition urging Hoover to veto the Smooth-Hawley Tariff Bill, for example. When it came to broad matters of economics they were collegial and, at times, even in complete agreement. Fetter is nevertheless named here on page 215 in the Appendix to Chapter 8 as one of the economists opposed to the ideas outlined within the chapter. Owner signature.
Book about-fine, scarce dust jacket very good with wear to extremities and tiny stain and a bit of toning to spine. A most desirable copy, rare with inscription and association.