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Economics (3)

Tax is almost as old as civilisation itself. The conquering emperors of the past would raise taxes to finance wars and conquests. Many historical rebellions, civil wars, and uprisings were driven by resentment against taxation. In recent history, income tax was introduced by William Pitt the Younger, to fight the Napoleonic wars. Today, tax is associated with providing public service and national ‘defence’, a euphemistic term for war.

There is a constant debate between the right and left of politics about the level of taxation and its expenditure. The former advocates lower taxes, because they argue that tax saps incentives of those who create wealth, and the latter says taxing is about providing a public service and protecting the poor in society, so they advocate higher taxes.

The news keeps getting worse. Two days after the collapse, the death toll is now above 300; some workers remain trapped beneath the wreckage, with rescuers working frantically to save them - sometimes cutting off limbs to get people free. While officials say that 2,200 people have been rescued, the Associated Press has reports the "smell of decaying bodies" amid the wails of workers' relatives at the scene, and the death toll is expected to rise. More than 3,000 people worked at the site.

Someday, U.S. economic dominance will be a distant memory. A new report is showing just how soon that might be. The paper, from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a European-based think tank, shows that over the next 50 years, the size of China and then India's economies will surpass that of the U.S.

According to the report, the global economy is expected to undergo seismic shifts over the next 50 years. China will surpass America as the world's largest economy as early as 2016, and a fast-growing Indian economy will outstrip the American economy by 2060.