Ritchie cannot read wikipedia

The salt tax was charged in India – but by the British, of course. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_British_salt_tax_in_India (sorry – working in iPad and links are harder). It’s relevance was it was introduced with complete contempt for its impact in people, to deny a basic need and to grant a monopoly right to make profit and abuse to a tiny elite.

The wikipedia article\’s opening line:

Taxation of salt has occurred in India since the earliest times.

Sigh.

8 comments on “Ritchie cannot read wikipedia

  1. Ummm, no.
    I’m afraid that, much as it pains me, RM would seem to have the right of it.
    ‘Salt had been taxed in India from time immemorial. The Maurya king, Chandragupta, who ruled India from much of 324 to 301 BC, imposed taxes on salt.’
    The Salt Tax
    Excerpted from The Great Hedge of India by Roy Moxham, Harper Collins, India 2001
    We Brits, as the ruling bureaucracy, just ramped it up, much as we ramp up EU directives today.

  2. perhaps someone can clarify this for me but I think I have read somewhere that salt produced by seawater evaporation is low in iodine, which means that most countries artificially add iodine to salt for health reasons. The Indian craving for home-made salt – the result of Gandhi’s strikes – and detestation of “taxed” salt (which included added iodine) – has led to increased numbers of birth defects.

    Tim adds: Other way around. Sea salt contains iodine. Mined salt generally has a great deal less. It is inland areas that traditionally suffered goitre (and the associated cretinism in children) from iodine insufficiency. Austria/Switzerland etc…..

  3. Murphy is broadly right about this. Under the Mughals, the salt tax was a few percent of the price. The British (first the East India Company and later the Raj) awarded themselves a monopoly and increased prices until most of the cost of salt was profit for the monopolists.

    diogenes is right: sea salt has some iodine in it but not enough to meet recommended levels. The Indian government requires salt sold for human consumption to have iodine levels well above what’s present in sea salt. This has the effect of making the stuff much more expensive – almost like the old salt tax.

  4. Currently in the middle of “Salt a world history”, great read. Everyone has taxed salt at some time. For many it was, from time to time, a significant portion of their tax base.

  5. “It’s relevance was it was introduced with complete contempt for its impact in people, to deny a basic need and to grant a monopoly right to make profit and abuse to a tiny elite.”

    So Richard Murphy admits that tax can be damaging. A bit of a turn around from his normal position that tax is always a positive in that it funds the state and the state is the best thing since sliced bread.

  6. hey guts…at least acknowledge that a centrally planned initiative to increase iodine levels (versus typical Gandhi idiocy) might be beneficial…let us not get all Tea Party about this

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