Voltaire – Man with forty crowns
Voltaire – Man with forty crowns: This is the story of a guy … a reasonably naive farmer with a small piece of land. Forty crowns, that’s what his good could bring him. Why forty crowns? This is the sum obtained by dividing the number of arpents of the kingdom by the number of its subjects, and the rent associated with the corresponding surface. Some will see here the first draft of an active solidarity income, as Wikipedia proposes.
A modest income that would be enough … except that there are the taxes that eat half of it. Deceitful, the man goes to see a specialist, the surveyor, who explains many things to him: what will not prevent the man from being ruined and imprisoned … If he gets out and gets married, his need to to understand is not satisfied.
In this fierce pamphlet against the technocrats of the time, Voltaire reveals himself as an almost prophetic economist. If others can find disjointed this series of dialogues and small stories where the caricature alternates with irony, Voltaire responds in advance: “It’s the fate of all conversations to move from one subject to another”