Marta Kindler, A Risky Business? Ukrainian Migrant Women in Warsaw's Domestic Work Sector
Tijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis
» tseg -10  2 tralization of taxation and spending was to make colonies more fiscally stable. Lastly, Gardner describes how the colonial fiscal inheritance impeded postcolonial development ambitions as tax systems failed to yield sufficient returns needed for investment. Gardner successfully analyses resistance to direct taxation and its impact on colonial fiscal systems. However, she does not examine reactions to customs duties, another key source of colonial income. According to the
... ccording to the author, tariff policies were mainly determined by market fluctuations. The book neither treats the issue of smuggling nor the administration's response to illicit commerce. Nevertheless, contraband trade was an important concern for most colonies as it represented a loss of fiscal returns and hindered economic intervention through tariff policies. Gardner also does not address the interaction between colonial states and trading companies who often fiercely protested new regulations on international commerce. The author focuses on British colonies in Africa and their interaction with the metropolitan government. Researching fiscal relations between these British territories and neighbouring colonies could have added to Garner's analysis. Colonial bureaucracies were unable to effectively control the cross-border movement of goods and people. If the fiscal burden was too high, inhabitants of borderlands could migrate to bordering colonies with lower tax rates or a less effective collection system. The same goes for customs duties: commercial enterprises could relocate to adjacent colonies to escape excessive levies on imports and exports. Moreover, differences in customs policies created opportunities for smuggling. As a result, the scope for fiscal policy making was partly restricted by a need to keep tax practices in line with those of neighbours, or to keep rates sufficiently low in order to be able to fiscally compete with adjoining territories. Apart from the two above-mentioned remarks, Gardner's monograph effectively demonstrates the merits of a fiscal perspective on African history. "Taxing Colonial Africa" is an excellent reference work for scholars who work on taxation and public finance in colonial and postcolonial Africa.