April 06, 2014

After taxing the social capital wealth represented by Facebook followers, do we then tax FT’s social capital?

Sir, I am pleasantly surprised you dared to publish Hans Byström’s creative and provocative proposal of taxing the social capital wealth represented by the followers on Facebook, “Tax the socially wealthy too!” April 5. I mean from that there is very little distance to taxing the immense social capital wealth of the Financial Times, with its influential editor and columnists, and its many readers.

If that tax on FT could be used, for instance to increase the voice of a smalltime blogger like me, that would definitely help to combat what at least I perceive to be a monumental unjust inequity. 

That said, and even if he comes from my own Alma Mater, Lund University in Sweden, I must argue with Professor Byström. What he holds to be social capital, number of followers, is just sort of gross earnings. Since all followers at Facebook do not necessarily have an equity interest in your well being, they might just as well represent liabilities, the final net social capital from being followed in Facebook can in fact also be enormously negative. A tax credit?