Norway, a member state of the EU, makes most tax information available to the public for free, online and with analysis tools. You can compare incomes and wealth of celebrities, friends, yourself. You can see where people live. There are positive aspects to this open approach to disclosure – it supports a more egalitarian economy. But it might be uncomfortable and while human culture suffers from primitive instincts of greed and fear, might even facilitate abuse and crime.
But this open approach to economics is likely to spread. Certainly in the EU, which is becoming increasingly autocratic/bureaucratic with milestones like Lisbon. And then other western countries and the rest of the world. It will certainly catalyse an equalisation of wealth as those who garner grossly unreasonable wealth will be pressured to hold back and give back.
People will want to demonstrate that they are deserving of extraordinary gains. That raises the question of whether people have earned their income – did they work long hours?, develop new technology?, house the homeless?, feed the poor?, put their capital at risk? invest for good or simply gain?, belong to an oligarchy of elite? That kind of information is missing.
Personally, however, I like my privacy. And I’m quite happy to honour other people’s privacy. I suppose that it wouldn’t be so bad if it was simply disclosure of public record, which tax record disclosure might be said to be, but when there is someone staring in through your window you become like a prisoner in your own home.