Skip to main content
THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM
Occupation without any material change in the characte] of taxation. But there lies the rub. Mere expansion o: revenue, so long as there is no material.change in the character of taxation, cannot meet the growing need o: the country for better education, better sanitation, bettei housing, better policing, better communications, etc Many of the public services, unavoidably stinted in the lean years, remained, less unavoidably, stinted in the fatter years that followed. Egyptian criticism of the parsimony in such matters, enforced or tolerated !>3 British control, and in some cases clue to sheer lack GJ interest and intelligence, has not always been unwarranted and some of the causes of the present discontent can b< traced back to it. To-day the State would, have ample resources to meet a far more liberal increase of expenditure if it were free to take toll of the nation's prosperity foi national needs. But, as I have already pointed out, the large sources of revenue (with the one exception of the land tax) which direct taxation affords in other countries are closed against the Egyptian Treasury by the Capitulations, which, by securing immunity from increased taxation for foreigners without the consent of the rapitulatior Powers, in effect secure the same immunity for Egyptian subjects, as no Egyptian Government could be expectec: to differentiate against its own subjects by subjecting them to taxation from which foreigners remained fr«Mi The same restrictions hamper the development of loca government. Foreigners in most of the large township^ have been wise enough not to stand on the letter of then rights and have agreed to contribute* their share ol voluntary taxation for municipal purposes. But t< build on any large scale on voluntary taxation is as risk \ as building on a quicksand.
These restraints on the fiscal independence of Egypt constitute a real Egyptian grievance, all the more rea in that in no country in the world probably are large* fortunes made by foreigners, who contribute by way oi taxation little or nothing in return beyond the paymentrease again almost wholly due to inflation. Nevertheless, these figures testify to the almost uninterrupted expansion of Egyptian revenue which has been going on since the early years of the