Thursday, April 23, 2009
Tax policies in Ancient Egypt
I took this picture on a recent trip to Egypt. It’s of the Nilometer, a sacred chamber on Elephantine Island in Aswan (southern Egypt), where the level of the river was measured each spring to predict the harvest throughout the rest of the kingdom. The priests would collect this information in secret and set taxes accordingly. As now, taxes were unpopular, and tax shelters for priests and temples could not have helped. However, it’s hard not to like the idea of calibrating taxes to what’s happening in the economy.