a bachelor tax

Baltic Sea

Banned
Polish
Good evening!

The town of Repelen, near the Dutch border, decided to impose a tax of 2,000 marks a month upon all bachelors over the age of 18.

If I understand the above question correctly, a bachelor tax is a tax imposed on a man who does not want to get married.


Thank you.
 
  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    I don't think you can infer that they don't want to get married, only that they aren't married. The tax is on a particular marital status, not on a reluctance to change status. :)

    There may be some social engineering behind the tax and an attempt to get young men to marry sooner, but that isn't clear from the context you've given us.

    (Is 2,000 Marks a lot of money?)
     

    Baltic Sea

    Banned
    Polish
    Thank you, JamesM. I think, however, that in some countries pressure is mounting on men to get married but they don't want to although there are a lot of beautiful girls and women around to choose from.
     

    Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    The "bachelor tax" described in the OP is simply a tax on anyone man who is not married, not on attitudes toward marriage or intentions to marry or not to marry in the future.

    Since the Netherlands does not now use "marks" as a unit of currency and has not for a long time (before the Euro, the Dutch national currency was called the "guilder" or the "florin"), this is a description of a historical event. "Marks" were an international currency unit in the middle ages; I don't know how much longer they were used after that, or whether the term was used locally (like "shilling" in the U.S. after independence) and converted into legal units. 2,000 of them might or might not have been a lot of money.
     

    Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    Perhaps it was in the late 1350's, just after the Black Death, when about 60% of the population had died and maximum reproduction was needed.

    It's apparently between the Rhine and Maas, west of Düsseldorf: "This place is situated in Wesel, Dusseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, its geographical coordinates are 51° 29' 0" North, 6° 37' 0" East and its original name (with diacritics) is Repelen."

    Note the description of its being "near the Dutch border," i.e., the border of some German state with the Netherlands.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Germany used the mark as its currency until it switched over to the Euro - a gradual process in the years leading up to 2002. A mark was worth just over half a euro during the transition period. A thousand euros a month was then, and is now, a lot of money. Perhaps it wouldn't be enough to convince an unattached young man to find a bride for financial reasons, but it would be enough to persuade many committed but unmarried couples to tie a formal knot.

    When this happened in 1923*, though, Germany was undergoing a period of hyperinflation. When the year began there were about 7,000 marks to the dollar, making this tax worth about 29¢ US. (Granted, 29¢ could buy a lot more then than it can today.) When the year ended, this tax would have been equivalent to about 4¢. I doubt it would have been much of a motivation to do anything. (For what it's worth, those aged 18-23 would have received a 25 percent discount.)

    The local effort to curb bachelorhood eventually came to nothing. The authorities ruled that taxation was matter for the Federal Finance Ministry in Berlin, not a local choice.

    ____________________
    *Context is everything! Absent this bit of information, it is impossible to evaluate this tax. The historical context also explains how they could get away with proposing a tax on men, but not on women.
     
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