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Economics Made Simple: How money, trade and markets really work by Madsen Pirie

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Taxes

All over Britain tourists stare in fascination at old houses with some of their windows bricked-up. Where there was clearly once a window, there are now bricks or plaster. Sometimes whole terraces exhibit this strange phenomenon. It dates back to 1696 when King William III, William of Orange, introduced a tax on windows. It was not intended to hit poor people, for cottages were exempt. Other houses, though, had to pay 2 shillings annually (a tenth of a pound) if they had fewer than 10 windows, 6 shillings if they had between 10 and 20, and 10 shillings for those with more than 20 windows.

The response of many people was to escape the tax by bricking up windows, and all over England this was done. New houses were built with fewer windows ...

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