Seeing Like the OECD on Tax
Scott's account of state-making is premised on the 'legibility' of society, facilitating administration by replacing idiosyncratic and particularistic local arrangements with a uniform bureaucratic grid. Along with conscription, extracting tax was the primary motivation behind this transformation. With the growth in cross-border economic relations, the current challenge for tax collectors is to make finance and banking legible at the global scale, moving from idiosyncratic and particularistic national arrangements towards a world-wide uniform bureaucratic grid. This is believed to be necessary to defeat would-be tax evaders looking to profit from the gaps and incompatibilities between different national tax systems. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is the main agent in homogenising tax data and procedures, and facilitating the exchange of tax information between states. As such, 'seeing like a state' on tax gives way to 'seeing like the OECD'.
New Political Economy