Bill Gates wants a robot tax to compensate for job losses


#1

There’s been some talk in these forums about jobs being lost to automation. While I have my criticisms of it this proposed solution caught my eye. A European parliament is also considering it. reuters.com/article/us-europe-robots-lawmaking-idUSKBN15V2KM


#2

It’s certainly something to ponder.


#3
  • mind blown *

I kind of… love this!


#4

Bill Gates said this? :shrug:

Is he feeling guilty for all the jobs his Microsoft product eliminated over the years?


#5

Depending on how you define robot and the amount of the tax this could help raise the money to retrain affected workers. There are some jobs where automation is so superior, it will not affect the decision unless the tax is so high as to force the business to close. Dangerous jobs like mining and steel production will never employ lots of real people again. Get over it. No computer chip manufacturer is going to use dirty humans instead of clean machines. Jobs that are highly repetitious are going to be done my machines,too. Machines produce higher quality at those tasks without lunch breaks, strikes, absenteeism, or scheduling complaints. There will be jobs for skilled people to maintain these machines and they will be highly paid because the work they do will be so valuable.


#6

That’s the main question in my mind. There’s a gradient from what might be considered just a tool and what might be considered a robot. If someone absolutely must have humans to avoid a tax a person could be given a minimalistic set of duties operating a machine that is otherwise independent.


#7

I’m not sure how I feel about this. I don’t like the idea of impeding efficiency and progress just to keep outdated jobs around.


#8

This already exists. It’s called “corporate income tax”. If robots add to the bottom line, that gain will be taxes. It’s no different with any machine that increases labor productivity.

Along with the “robot tax” does Gates propose a "tractor tax’ for farming, or a “shovel tax” for ditch-digging?


#9

Maybe, but it’s just government picking winners and losers.

Should the government have taxed TV to benefit radio? Or cars to help the wagon-makers?


#10

We should have taxes on anything that has cost jobs. Software has eliminated many jobs. We should definitely tax software, especially Microsoft products.

(Satire ends.)

That is a bad solution. The job market and the nature of work itself is changing. Regressive “solutions” like that will impede innovation. The problem is complex: solutions are not that easy. The pace of technological change has changed work. Solutions might be:

  1. education and job retraining
  2. the realization in the workforce that spending 40 years in one field or job are largely over - career change may become the norm.

#11

Don’t we tax the company that made the profits on installing the robots ? I wouldn’t want to see a double tax on the robots and again on the company’s profits. Ways to increase Man’s Productivity is always been the American way of life. From the cotton gin to the IPhone.


#12

Bill Gates doesn’t care about declining industries (which Bill Gates certainly isn’t a part of) or the quality of life of workers. He’s concerned about the fact that increasing automation cuts into the consumer market for his products. If people start to lose their jobs, there are less people to buy things. This is what the push for UBI and robot taxes is trying to fix. Of course, this is an inherent problem to capitalism that can’t be fixed while it exists.


#13

While we’re adding to the tax burden, what about a how-many-jobs-have-you-shipped-overseas tax?


#14

How will the American government tax the robots that make iphones in china, or wherever they make them?


#15

Oh, you two with your voices of reason. Of course implementation will be complex.

My concern is, that while we are all living in our Universal Basic Income utopia, the robots will eventually catch on that they are being taxed without representation.

Then, we would have robot revolution on our hands!

That’s crazy talk, right?


#16

So in other words he’s going to use the force of government to protect his interests?

Also, pushing for government involvement in the marketplace isn’t free-market capitalism. At best it’s crony capitalism if not paving the way for socialism.


#17

That’s an essential part of capitalism. The state protects the interests of the ruling class, and the preservation of capital. How else is private property maintained than without the force of government?

This wouldn’t just be a case of Bill Gates securing his own monopoly, however. It would be the state attempting to fix an innate contradiction between capital and wage labour - an innate contradiction to capitalism. Automation is harmful under capitalism - capitalists are forced to employ increasing means of automation to compete with each other, increase production and reduce costs, but at the same time they cut into their own consumer base by doing this. Only the abolition of capitalism can abolish this contradiction. Automation could be used to improve the state of mankind, if wage labour were to be abolished.

Capitalism is the relationship between wage labour and capital, and with it the production of exchange value. “Crony capitalism” is an essential part of and necessary end to capital accumulation. If you allow capital to accumulate indefinitely, monopolies will undoubtedly form. You can’t speak of capitalism without the state and the eventual development of monopolies. To do so is utopian - it ignores the material causes of the development of these aspects of capitalist society.

Socialism can never form from the creation of monopolies. Socialism involves the abolition of capital and wage labour, and the abolition of the existence of exchange value between commodities. Goods would be produced for use, not exchange. Under socialism all goods are free and can be taken by anyone at anytime, while all labour for the individual is voluntary. It is a society working based on the maxim, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”


#18

By mutual agreement of principles between rational people. Force is only used upon those who will not agree to those principles. Theoretically, you would not need government.

This wouldn’t just be a case of Bill Gates securing his own monopoly, however. It would be the state attempting to fix an innate contradiction between capital and wage labour - an innate contradiction to capitalism. Automation is harmful under capitalism - capitalists are forced to employ increasing means of automation to compete with each other, increase production and reduce costs, but at the same time they cut into their own consumer base by doing this. Only the abolition of capitalism can abolish this contradiction. Automation could be used to improve the state of mankind, if wage labour were to be abolished.

Not necessarily, I work in the armored car industry. Technology has been amazing for us. We used to record everything we picked up on paper manifests. The time this took necessitated shorter routes, closer to our base of operations. Now our clients ship money in specially designed bags with a barcode on them. The barcode is scanned into a handheld scanner which is uploaded to a computer database. We can now service more customers, farther away for less money. That means we need more guards to service those customers. Our lowered prices free up more of our clients’ money so that they can spend elsewhere creating even more jobs. Let us not forget that somebody has to supply those bags and scanners and program all that software too.

Let us talk about atms. Sure some bank tellers are not as necessary, however I have to replenish the atm, another guy has to install it, another guy has to fix any problems with it, and an offsite company provides security for that atm.

Socialism can never form from the creation of monopolies. Socialism involves the abolition of capital and wage labour, and the abolition of the existence of exchange value between commodities. Goods would be produced for use, not exchange. Under socialism all goods are free and can be taken by anyone at anytime, while all labour for the individual is voluntary. It is a society working based on the maxim, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

Why work? Why not just be a parasite then?


#19

Looking forward to see how they work that out :smiley:


#20

Why do people who make billion$ in the capitalist system suddenly start behaving non-capitalistically?


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