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    Millism describes the beliefs of the 19th century philosopher, political economist and Member of Parliament, John Stuart Mill. He believes that the individual ought to be free to do as they wish unless they cause harm to others, individuals are rational enough to make decisions about their well being, and that it is not a crime to harm oneself as long as the person doing so is not harming others. He favours the PCB-Civbert.png harm principle: "The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others." He excuses those who are "incapable of self-government" from this principle, such as young children or those living in "backward states of society". He believes that "harms" may include acts of omission as well as acts of commission. Thus, failing to rescue a drowning child counts as a harmful act, as does failing to pay taxes, or failing to appear as a witness in court. He opposed slavery and supports feminism, and JS Mill can be considered among the earliest male proponents of gender equality.

    Economic Beliefs

    JS Mill's early economic philosophy was one of free markets. However, he accepted interventions in the economy, such as a tax on alcohol, if there were sufficient utilitarian grounds. He also accepted the principle of legislative intervention for the purpose of animal welfare. He originally believed that "equality of taxation" meant "equality of sacrifice" and that progressive taxation penalized those who worked harder and saved more and was therefore "a mild form of robbery". Given an equal tax rate regardless of income, Mill agreed that inheritance should be taxed. A utilitarian society would agree that everyone should be equal one way or another. Therefore, receiving inheritance would put one ahead of society unless taxed on the inheritance.

    Later he altered his views toward a more Liberalsoc.png Liberal Socialist bent, adding chapters to his Principles of Political Economy in defense of a socialist outlook, and defending some socialist causes. Within this revised work he also made the radical proposal that the whole wage system be abolished in favor of a co-operative wage system. Nonetheless, some of his views on the idea of flat taxation remained, albeit altered in the third edition of the Principles of Political Economy to reflect a concern for differentiating restrictions on "unearned" incomes, which he favored, and those on "earned" incomes, which he did not favour.




    • Soc.png Socialism - Why do you want to eliminate competition?
    • Cap.png Capitalism - I used to be all for this, but you do tend to breed a lot of inequality.

    Further Information


    John Stuart Mill


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