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Crisis? What Crisis? Displacing the Spatial Imaginary of the Fiscal State.

By A. Cameron


This paper argues that there is an immanent and evolving relationship between the prevailing form of taxation and the economic geographies of the state. Despite this, the geographic significance of taxation has been obscured by the language in which its historic transformation tends to be couched. Prevailing fiscal systems tend to be presented as essentially static – institutionally and spatially fixed and routinely inscribed within the fixed boundaries and territories of the ‘sovereign’ fiscal state. Any threat to, or change in the nature or geography of the fiscal state tends to be couched in terms of ‘crisis’ – of negative and discontinuous change. This paper contends that these related and essentially conservative discourses of fiscal geography mask the degree to which fiscal spaces are both multiple and continuously evolving. More importantly, it argues, this fluidity and multiplicity does not threaten the stability and viability of state form, but it is an essential process in its maintenance and reproduction. Running counter to the prevailing discourse of the ‘national economy’, the practice of fiscal geography is an under-analysed but key aspect of the historical evolution and transformation of the imagined geographies of economies

Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2006.05.007
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