How to finance the welfare state of tomorrow?

Good morning, Monday! Most of us go to work on this day of the week. That this could change is not new anymore.

Experts predict that robot workers will be able to replace humans in many industries in the future. In Great Britain, it is expected that machines and artificial intelligence will take up about one third of all jobs by 2030. Will robots make us obsolete in the future? Or do they create new free spaces?

Bill Gates sees the remedy for this in the “Robot Tax”

This means the taxation of machine labour. Robots that replace humans should pay a tax to allow social transfers.

A simple and ingenious idea that raises new questions

How can this tax be implemented in practice? Should the manpower of a robot be taxed at an hourly wage or the possession of such a robot? Which robots should be taxed? Only hardware robots, as they are common in the factory, or also software, like algorithm-driven chatbots? What kind of work should be taxed? Doing this homework is rewarding. Because much depends on the answers.

If machine-driven wealth is not only used for the profit of a few people, it ensures social peace.

With growing economic performance by robots, state benefits could be increased, for example in the form of an unconditional basic income. A revolution of the useless workers would very likely fail to take place in this case.

The value of work could change dramatically. Goods and services whose production and supply can be rationalised and automated become cheaper or even free of charge.

A person freed from work will find new ways to interact with other people. Today, there are already numerous “luxury professions” that no longer serve the bare survival, as agriculture does. The digital transformation is already causing the consulting industry to boom. Real human services such as counselling and therapies are likely to become more and more expensive. In recent years, completely new professions have emerged, such as professional video game players. Who could have predicted 20 years ago how many people today earn their living in the social networks and as YouTuber?

It is easy to predict which jobs will be lost, but difficult to predict which new ones will be created. (Jürgen Schmidhuber)

South Korea has introduced the so-called first robot tax in the world for fear that machines will replace human labour and lead to mass unemployment. However, this control is still a long way from a real robot control. The tax was introduced to counteract the loss of jobs due to increasing automation. The South Korean government has therefore abolished tax breaks for companies that previously received them for investments in robots. Nevertheless, the additional tax burden is seen as a first step towards robot control.

But until all robots pay their taxes and social security contributions in a well-behaved manner, some assembly work will probably still take place in this country. Let’s go for it!

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