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thaumasiotes · 2018-03-12 · Original thread
Here's what I know or believe I know about feudalism. It's almost entirely from the book https://www.amazon.com/Pre-Industrial-Societies-Anatomy-Pre-... , which while excellent does not deal with feudalism in any depth.

- European feudalism was an unusual system in that the government had no taxing power. The lord who owned land held the taxing power ("feudal dues") over that land, and the king funded himself by collecting feudal dues from land he owned personally, rather than e.g. by taxing the dukes. This might contrast with a more advanced state of civilization in which the caliph / emperor / whatever collected taxes directly from everywhere by virtue of being the supreme ruler, and paid a salary to his lower administrative functionaries. Or it might contrast with a system where the use of land wasn't much of a source of taxes. Or both of those latter things might be true simultaneously.

The US system of property taxes has a lot in common with the system I've described above, and some obvious differences. Similarities:

- The federal government ("king") can't assess property taxes. Only the states ("local lords") can do that.

- People other than the government cannot own land outright, but must pay the property tax ("feudal dues") for its use every year.

Of course, rather than the federal government receiving tax income based on federally owned land, it instead double-taxes the citizens of the states. (But on mercantile revenue rather than on land.) This is arguably worse than the feudal system.

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