6 MAY 1916, Page 18


(Notice in this column doss eel necessarily preclals su)sepua: reeked

British Incomes and Property. By J. C. Stamp. (P. S. King. 12s. Gd. net.)—It would be a refinement of cruelty to set anybody to read through these five hundred pages unless he were one of the few who enjoy statistics and their manipulation. Mr. Stamp deals with our public and private incomes and property theoreti- cally, historically, and statistically, but entirely from the tax- gatherer's point of view. His minute criticism of the voluminous economic articles and books of recent years is mainly destructive. Mr. Mallock and Sir Leo Chiozza Money, for instance, appear to have written so much that is wrong that one wonders whether there can be anything left in their writings that is true. There is less than one would expect of political interest. A chapter headed " The Taxable Capacity of Ireland " raises hopes of an authoritative statement upon the fairness of the incidence of taxation, but we aro disappointed. The only opinion that Mr. Stamp gives upon the controversy is that " Ireland is seriously undervalued." The most depressing effect of the book is the general emphasis upon the fact that nearly all assessment and

valuation is untrustworthy guesswork, however laborious and skilful the conjectures, and therefore a bad basis for taxation, though alterna- tives might be worse. As a book of reference Mr. Stamp's volume will probably be extremely valuable, even ounide Someraet House.