Mary Meeker's Latest Awesome Web 2.0 Presentation About The State Of The Web. Benford's Law and the Decreasing Reliability of Accounting Data for US Firms. Important update 10/24/11 - Please see this revised analysis.
Original post: A second earth-shattering fact is that there are more numbers in the universe that begin with the digit 1 than 2, or 3, or 4, or 5, or 6, or 7, or 8, or 9. And more numbers that begin with 2 than 3, or 4, and so on. This relationship holds for the lengths of rivers, the populations of cities, molecular weights of chemicals, and any number of other categories. VAT's next half century: Towards a single-rate system? By Jeffrey Owens, Director, and Piet Battiau, OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, Alain Charlet, WTS France* Value-added tax is but a baby in the history of tax.
It was a German businessman, Wilhelm Von Siemens, who, in the 1920s, first described the idea of putting a tax on the additional value of output at each stage of its creation, rather than just at the retail sales end.