Page Title: FuturePundit: Bill Gates Wants To Tax Robots That Take Jobs

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Page Text: FuturePundit Future technological trends and their likely effects on human society, politics and evolution. February 19, 2017 Bill Gates Wants To Tax Robots That Take Jobs Check out this qz article: The robot that takes your job should pay taxes, says Bill Gates . About 35-40 years ago secretary was the biggest job in most states . Those days are long past. As you can see by advancing the time bar for the USA states map on that page, by 2000 truck driver was the biggest job. So I have a question for Bill Gates: Do you want to tax word processors too? Also, autonomous vehicle technology will surely wipe out most truck driving jobs in the next 20 years. Do you want to tax autonomous truck technology to slow the rate of that transition? Keep in mind that thousands of lives will be saved each year once autonomous trucks slash the accident rate, even tens of thousands of lives if we include autonomous cars. I'm glad that one of the richest people in the world is at least aware of the problem. As I have previously pointed out there is about a 30% difference between the high school drop-out and college grad employment rates in the USA . I'm guessing (I haven't looked) the gap is bigger in Europe due to labor laws that make it harder to fire and also social welfare benefits that reduce the necessity of working. But again, I haven't looked. As you can see from my favorite Bureau of Labor Statistics web page Table A-4. Employment status of the civilian population 25 years and over by educational attainment the 30 point gap is holding strong. That gap could easily widen due to advances in robotics, rising minimum wage, and labor law changes that make firing harder to do. I think we are headed for the equivalent of Peak Horse and probably have already passed it for Peak Routine Manual Labor. Taxes on robots can't work for anything that gets manufactured. In the absence of high tariffs all a robot tax will do is push the manufacturing offshore. I've previously argued that high autonomy for manufacturing robots (lights-off factories) could drive capitalists to put factories on sovereign islands in order to escape taxes to support masses of unemployed. Ireland for example has a small enough population and factories where get manufacturers inside the European Union. Outside tariff zones Iceland offers cheap geothermal electric power and limited number of people to support through taxes to fund a welfare state. New Zealand also offers a limited and skilled population and is is already an escape destination for billionaires if civilization teeters on the brink . No need to go upstairs to Elysium. Living in orbit would be much less pleasant than New Zealand. Though its volcanic and earthquake activity is a concern. At first glance taxes on robots work better for services that can not be exported. But wait. Taxes on home care robots aren't going to fly because sick old people are going to say they can't afford the taxes any better than they can afford human home care providers. Ditto for taxes on medical treatments. People want cheap health care. So expect political battles over which local robot services are suitable for taxing.

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