La tassa sul macinato. Dev’ella abolirsi, mantenersi o riformarsi?

Florence, successors of Le Monnier, 1871.

Tall 8vo, pp. 129, [1] blank, [1] contents, [1] blank; creased where previously folded; uncut in the original printed wrappers, a little chipped and marked in places, stamp to rear cover.


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First edition of a contribution by Ferrara on the question of the macinato or Italian grist tax.

The idea in Italy of taxing the grinding of cereals dates from the Middle Ages, falling in and out of favour with legislators throughout Italy from that time, and was an important episode in Italian history in the second half of the nineteenth century. After various previous attempts, it had been introduced across the country in 1868. ‘The system adopted consisted in applying an instrument in the mills which registered the revolutions of the millstone or those of the cyclinders and taxed the miller in accordance, giving him the right to charge every customer a fixed rate, according to the weight of the cereals ground … As the instruments which ought to have been applied were at first not ready in sufficient number, much arbitrary taxation took place, and provoked riots, in repressing which blood was shed’ (Palgrave).

Ferrara, who was in favour of the tax, took an important role in the debate over it, as both economist and politician. However, this ‘tax of despair’ as it was called, which laid a heavy burden on the people, led increasingly to popular disquiet and was finally abolished in 1884.

Einaudi 1869.

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