Monday, October 05, 2020

UIS Emeritus Professor Donald Morris writes a new book exploring “Taxation in Utopia”

Donald Morris, a University of Illinois Springfield emeritus professor of accountancy, has written a new book, “Taxation in Utopia: Required Sacrifice and the General Welfare.” 

At its core, taxation is an ethical question. It requires people to sacrifice for the benefit of others, whether or not they also benefit themselves. Morris’ book is an interdisciplinary exploration of utopian taxation and how it provides a novel approach to examining relations between a state's view of the general welfare and the sacrifices this view requires of its citizens. 

“I chose utopias for the same reasons that investigators exploring other problems control variables, adopt simplifying assumptions, and develop conceptual models,” Morris said. “And while moral concerns permeating taxation are illustrated in the context of utopian literature, this is not an argument for a stand-alone tax utopia or a practical treatise on tax reform. Most utopians devote little time to describing their pecuniary tax systems.” 

The book traces the moral dimensions of taxation through the utopian writings of political theorists and novelists including Henry David Thoreau, H.G. Wells, Thomas More, Leo Tolstoy, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, George Orwell, B. F. Skinner, Jonathan Swift, Plato, Karl Marx and many more. 

“This is an extremely well researched and thorough exploration of utopian literature, effectively back to the beginning of the written word,” said Jennifer Bird-Pollan of the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law in reviewing the book. “Morris covers every major work of literature with a utopian element, and works through the tax (both pecuniary and constructive) present in all of these works. His explanation and analysis of economics and doctrine of tax laws is of the highest order.” 

Morris is the author of several books, including “Tax Cheating: Illegal—But Is It Immoral?” He was a Silver Award Winner in the 2012 ForeWord Book of the Year in the Political Science Category, and a Category Finalist in the 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards, presented by Hopewell Publications. 

“Taxation in Utopia: Required Sacrifice and the General Welfare” was published by the State University of New York System (SUNY) Press in September 2020 and is available for purchase as a hardcover or electronic book from Amazon, Google and other retailers. For more information on the book, visit

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