“Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.” Oliver Wendell Holmes1 Like fire and passion, taxation can bring ruin as well as blessing. Justice Holmes rightly observed that taxes provide the wherewithal for public benefits we associate with civilized life. However, fiscal measures also have a darker side, sometimes serving as a vehicle for indirect asset confiscation. In the oft-cited paraphrase of another American Supreme Court Justice: “The power to tax is the power to destroy.”2 In light of taxation’s special potential for abuse, many investment treaties...
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