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A Modest Robot Levy Could Help Combat Effects of Automation On … – Slashdot

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is a great way to make American companies uncompetitive with foreign ones.
How has that worked out for you so far?
Falling wages so that the company can stay competitive, and then they just ship the job overseas anyway.
The only way to win a race to the bottom is not to participate.
We do less work
Really , who is this we? Because over the last half century this does not appear to be true.
Unions fought for a century+ to get a shorter working week, a shorter working week did not happen because of automation it happened because workers demanded it.
Is it a conveyor that takes a job away from a fork lift driver?
Is it a box lift station that reduces back injuries for a person moving boxes around?
Is it a robot arm that stacks boxes on a pallet. What if it is two robot arms working together is that two robots?
What if the automation doesn’t take any jobs away, but it just makes the workforce more efficient?
There are so many kinds of automation and almost none of them look like Bender. I wouldn’t know how to begin applying this tax.
Hush now. Let them pretend they’re Hari Seldon for a few more minutes before the bell rings and they have to pick up their toys and get off the playground.
Or, we could understand that coupled with competition, automation will slowly bring an insane abundance such that even current welfare levels will be enough to buy many things a person needs. For example, if automated indoor farming enables food prices to drop 10x .. would we even want to tax that? Robots don’t need to be taxed; their value-add and downward price pressure will bring benefits beyond what simple taxation will bring. Note, I am not arguing against changing taxes on certain company property, in
Yet most poor people today have luxuries a king of 200 years ago could only dream of. If what you say is true, the poor of today should be much worse off than the poor of 200 years ago.
If you slash welfare too much and income/wealth inequality becomes an even bigger thing in the future, especially with more people jobless, who is going to protect the 1% from the mobs with pitchforks?
Lets say there is 5% unemployed now. What will happen if there are 30-75% unemployed and even more poorer / pissed in the future due to automation?
Especially if guns/other weapons are widely available.
Automation is half the equation, resources is the other half of the equation. Without recycling there will be no insane abundance, instead what we have right now is insane levels of pollution that are causing insane damage to our ecosystems. Insane amounts of plastic floating around in the ocean, insane numbers of deadzones. Worldwide rain water is now classified as not safe to drink because natural water contains too many forever chemicals.
https://watereurope.eu/rainwat… [watereurope.eu]
Bird and insect populations have p
Well, for the people who see wealth redistribution as the core function of government, the question of “what’s a robot (and thus something we can tax)?” is YES.
Indeed – and what if (to take this to an extreme) an entire production line was completely automated. Now you’ve got a “robot” the size of a hangar – is that one robot or dozens of them?
I’ll also just pick you up on this:
> What if the automation doesn’t take any jobs away, but it just makes the workforce more efficient?
That *is* taking a job away – if your workers are X efficient, then they can fulfil 1000 orders a week. If they’re X*2 efficient, they can do 1500 orders a week. If they stay at X efficien
Exactly what I was wondering.
What if the whole production line is one giant robot?
Or what if Tesla’s *gasp* humanoid multi purpose robot actually works out? And just 10 can run around handling everything in a factory?
Is a lever which moves automatically when an item bangs on it on a conveyor belt a robot? What if the lever actually activates the robot to remove the item from the belt?
Is an automatically driven car a robot?
Until they can get a formal defination of what is a robot, I don’t think this has any
Zoom and Webex destroyed a lot of jobs. Many people don’t fly around for meetings. I don’t drive to the office nearly as much as I used to. Should we tax Zoom and FaceTime to support jobs in the travel and lodging businesses? Should we tax ordering kiosks and ordering apps because those destroy order taker jobs at fast food joints? Clearly this is the path to madness.
Any sort of improved tool or process boosts productivity and destroys jobs. That’s the whole point. What these boffins are forgetting is that
Robots do tasks more cost-effectively (efficiently) than humans. That’s why they get used.
That being the case, why not just tax efficiency directly? That would open the doors to all kinds of tax revenue.
Completing something on line rather than in person? Tax it.
Using an app to do anything? Tax it.
Using a computer instead of pen and paper? Tax it.
Using a digital switch instead of a switchboard operator? Tax it.
This would create all kinds of incentives to employ millions of people to do shit that can easily be done more efficiently by using technology. It would create incentives to stop using technology and put this big mean high tech companies in their place!
The government did the right thing with early computer and internet technology by not attempting to over-regulate or over-tax it, not wishing to kill any potential golden geese that may emerge (which they did).
Taxing robots because they are likely to replace jobs is simplistic, one-dimensional thinking, and is incredibly premature at this point, at least until we can more clearly see the actual consequences of the robot revolution. Those predicting doom and gloom are ignoring literally centuries of economi
If average person takes 10 minutes to fill up a form and someone who is more familiar with the process and does it in 3 minutes, does that mean you will accuse that person of using automation and tax them cos they are more efficient?
Another example – It takes 15 minutes for someone to walk a KM and bring a parcel. Someone fitter could do it in 9 minutes.
Ops, you are now taxed for being fitter / healthier.
I recall reading some book where everyone is hobbled till everyone can perform at exactly the same level
I never said anything about a 1% tax.
We are never going to obtain post-scarcity if we start taxing robots and automation. You want to obtain the goal that Socialism can’t accomplish? Let the automation happen. The solution doesn’t lie in paying the workers more, it lies in eliminating the need for the jobs they’re doing.
This is what I keep saying to socialists and communists and they just don’t get it. Though I think the reason why is because their ideology is based on 19th century thinking. 19th century thinking is where all of the real work only gets done in workshops where people basically do the same shit all day long, all year long. In that line of work, it’s pretty much you’re either a manager or your a drone, with nothing in between, and they believe that because they’re drones that do all of the manual work, they a
You have completely missed the point of socialism. Owning the means of production is not the end, it’s the means.
Let’s say we have robots that do most of the work. Do you think that you won’t have to work so hard now, or will the people who own the robots expect you to keep paying for stuff?
In the long run we have to get to a point where nobody, or everybody, owns the robots. Until then we have to figure out a way to transition that doesn’t screw the majority of people. The problem is that the end point is
I agree, that is a huge upside. However, to date: the more we automate, the harder they work us. The level of automation in my home is stunning compared with 100 years ago: machines that wash dishes, machines that wash clothes, machines that cook food, machines that vacuum and clean. Even a machine to scoop cat poop out of the litter box, arguably a solution from a problem we created. But I suspect I work longer hours than someone in an equivalent job worked back then.
The problem isn’t the automation, the p
Of course, there are other pressures, like $15 minimum wage, and inflation on raw materials. So perhaps it is possible that McDonald’s uses automation to avoid increasing the prices as much as they might otherwise have to. So just because the price of the cheeseburger didn’t go down, maybe it’s good that it didn’t go up.

We are never going to obtain post-scarcity if we start taxing robots and automation. You want to obtain the goal that Socialism can’t accomplish? Let the automation happen. The solution doesn’t lie in paying the workers more, it lies in eliminating the need for the jobs they’re doing.

We are never going to obtain post-scarcity if we start taxing robots and automation. You want to obtain the goal that Socialism can’t accomplish? Let the automation happen. The solution doesn’t lie in paying the workers more, it lies in eliminating the need for the jobs they’re doing.
But what happens when the robots have eliminated the majority of working class jobs?

It’ll happen, which is why it needs to be planned for.

Well unless we blow ourselves up or let the religious fruitcakes take over in which case we’ll end up toiling for 6 days and prostrating for the other.
You kids don’t remember, but back in 1729, a dude by the name of Jonathan Swift had an even better modest proposal: https://www.gutenberg.org/file… [gutenberg.org]

… better modest proposal

… better modest proposal
Cannibalism? Well, it’s just population control, which has been practiced before, as infanticide and which we practice now via chemical contraception. The necessity of population control has long been known, which is why he offered the answer of eating human yearlings. Robots mean we won’t need more people to make (and destroy) more stuff, so government policies will need to abandon the assumption of endless growth.
Ohhhh. Thanks, I always wondered.
The problem isn’t figuring out how to raise money, the government does a really good job of that.
The real difficulty is figuring out how to do the redistribution in a way that is helpful. We’ve seen that just giving people money isn’t super helpful, although we do a lot of that. People who are displaced from working because of robots need a bridge and retraining so they can move to a new career. But how exactly do you do that in a way that unemployment insurance doesn’t already?
get rid of student loans make all credit transfer with no loss.
The problem is folks like the people writing this article forget about incentives. Activities the government taxes, you end up with less of, and activities the government subsidizes you end with more of. The power to tax is the power to destroy.
If you tax automation in the U.S., then you get less automation in the U.S., and everyone in the U.S. ends up poorer than they would have been. But you didn’t tax automation elsewhere, so they’ll do the automated tasks there instead of in the U.S., so you end up cost

The problem is folks like the people writing this article forget about incentives.

The problem is folks like the people writing this article forget about incentives.
This is one of my top complaints about the D team.
Let’s burn down flour factories, and bring back windmills., let’s get rid of tractors, and trucks, let’s go back to whip and buggy, and while at it, beasts of burden for agriculture.
Any new innovation will kill jobs. That has always been the case.
A skilled shoemaker was part of a clan, sorry, guild, and would make you a shoe by custom order, and you’d pick it up the next month, if lucky. Today you go to any random shop, and can buy a shoe for as little as $10. Though probably you’d prefer to pay a bit more for something actually comfortable.
Will robots kill jobs? Sure, they already are doing that. Can we prevent it? Nope, “life finds a way”, even artificial ones.
But we just need to as two questions:
– Are there new and better jobs replacing the older ones? (yes there are)
– Can we have a robust “lifelong learning” system to keep people up to date with modern skills? (nope, far from it, we only give them “join a coding bootcamp, and most likely be scammed” advice).
the college system is not build for lifelong learning. Hell just to go from one to an other can lead to having to retake classes just so that other new college makes $$$.
and needing to go for years just to get an piece of paper costs an lot and has lot of filler and fluff.
also telling some older person you must live and pay for an dorm room is not going to go over that well as well.
And have them pay their regular income tax.
Yeah, and pay them a salary then, too.
And then robots go on strike. Bite my shiny metal ass.
Following this logic, we should heavily tax farm machinery. Gotta keep those peasants in the fields. Tax computers – do you know how many jobs have been affected by computers over the past 50-60 years?
Seriously, automation improves productivity, which – overall – increases living standards. Workers get displaced, yes, that has been a continuous process for centuries now.
Provide support for retraining, but don’t tax progress.
Even if there were taxes, all this does is delay, not stop, the automation. At some point, a robot+robot taxes are cheaper than hiring another idiot who can’t or won’t do the job properly, if they even bother to show up.

If this tax increases the cost of production, then it will only hasten the trend of production moving to places like Asia, where I doubt they are even considering this kind of tax.

If this tax increases the cost of production, then it will only hasten the trend of production moving to places like Asia, where I doubt they are even considering this kind of tax.
This is the bit where you notice they also intend to tax other people’s robots via increased “trade taxes” too.
Specifically, the study finds that a tax on robots should range from 1 percent to 3.7 percent of their value, while trade taxes would be from 0.03 percent to 0.11 percent, given current U.S. income taxes.
The problem is not the generation of wealth (i.e. we should use the robots), the problem is distribution of wealth.
That is done with taxes, social programs, education..etc.
Making humans do jobs that robots can do is stupid and just makes society as a whole poorer.
If this is the logic you’re going to use then why tax individual citizens at all, just shift the entire tax burden onto for-profit businesses.

If this is the logic you’re going to use then why tax individual citizens at all, just shift the entire tax burden onto for-profit businesses.

If this is the logic you’re going to use then why tax individual citizens at all, just shift the entire tax burden onto for-profit businesses.
Because most of the businesses will pack up and head overseas where the taxes are lower.
According to the CBO:
A corporation may write its check to the Internal Revenue Service for payment of the
corporate income tax, but that money must come from somewhere: from reduced
returns to investors in the company, lower wages to its workers, or higher prices that
consumers pay for the products the company produces. Understanding the mechanisms
through which those tax burdens are transferred is crucial in determining the
economic effects of the corporate income tax.
Although economists are far from a consensu
The concept has been publicly discussed by policy analysts, scholars, and Bill Gates (who favors the notion).
Does anyone ask Bill Gates about his opinion on things, or does he just force them on people (he has a history of doing that, like Windows licenses on new PC’s)? Bill gates, not being a policy analyst, or scholar, or much of anything, apart from having a lof of money…
Why stop there?
Why not include any manufacturing process improvement, that means a task previously done by two people can be done by one?
I know why, because it’s a stupid idea.
It’s time to consider that the actual AGENDA is NOT “solve a problem” but is actually “tax and spend” and/or “wealth redistribution/population control” and all the shouting about other policies and so-called emergencies actually constitute TACTICS for enacting the agenda, rather than serious policies to handle any actual problem.
These people are like children who have been given a hammer and now think the entire world is made of nails.
What defines a robot? Does it have to be a physical thing or can it be a collection of bits?
Where I work, we have software ‘bots that process routine tasks. (You know, stuff that could be automated.) Is that a taxable robot? When I spin up 50 of the same ‘bot, does that get taxed as 50 ‘bots, or just 1?
Do the ‘bots get taxed only when they are working? If I kick off 50 ‘bots, but they’re only working for 2 minutes in a day, do I get to divide the tax by the minutes in a day and pay for only when the ‘bots w
This whole idea would have only negative consequences. The big corporations will not pay all the taxes they are supposed to pay, and they will not be held responsible for it. The small companies will have to pay all the taxes, they will be audited aggressively, and the end result is that the big corporations that buy all the laws and run off with all the money will continue to do so, and also suppress the smaller companies that won’t even be able to afford to have robots.
Meanwhile it’s also handwaving, “loo
… what’s a robot? How are you gonna do this?
A robot arm? The controller controlling it? Both? What if one controller controls two arms, is that one “robot”?
It matters, when the tax court is deciding who to fine or throw in jail for not paying tax on enough “robots”.
what about MORE OT pay (change salary pay) and maybe lower the full time.
We can start with an lower full time say 30-32 Hours
Maybe add an X2 OT level at say 60-70 hours
An X2.5 OT level at 70-80
An X3 OT level at 80-100+
Make the min for salary with no OT be 60K+COL
also ANY time done doing time clock work / time tracking work must be paided. (an few work places have docked your PTO for doing non client work)
also force uber and others to pay for people who are sitting ready to work but waiting for an ride.
All this technology was supposed to shorten the work week and make it so we had to work less, but greedy employers just give everyone more work and less resources.
Bite My Shiny Metal Ass
Quote Investigator: This quotation is usually coupled with a colorful anecdote, but the details of the stories vary greatly. Here is an account from the economics writer Stephen Moore that was printed in the Wall Street Journal in 2009. Moore stated that he used to visit Milton Friedman and his wife, and together they would dine at a favorite Chinese restaurant: [2]
At one of our dinners, Milton recalled traveling to an Asian country in the 1960s and visiting a worksite where a new canal was being built. He
The countries where this has played out are not countries with high levels of automation.
I think something like a 10% minimum on all of your revenue wouldn’t hurt. If your taxable income is already above that, then it means no change for you. If you have some kind of situation where you run a business that only takes in a 6% margin (not unheard of at all, especially for people that flip goods on ebay/amazon for a living) then just create an LLC, keep separate accounts for it, and clearly delineate what you take and what the business takes. The IRS already has plenty of rules that govern what ca
If your income is above “that”. What’s “that”? 10%? Of what?
The problem with the “flat tax” or the so-called “fair tax” is that they’re no such thing. They’re income taxes, which is not how wealthy people make their money, so they’re taxes ONLY on the working classes. No wonder rich people can get behind these and promote them.
The rich make most of their money through capital gains, which aren’t touched by the “flat tax”. So the “flat tax” gets lumpy pretty quick.
You want to really get fair? Switch to a tax
Tax revenue? That’s not cool.
If I make widgets that the world wants or needs and I choose to sell them at cost because I’m such a nice guy, and make $0, why should it matter if I had revenue of $10M or $100M? If I was making 10% profit, and decided to invest in my people and use half of the profits to increase their pay, reducing my profits but not my revenues, I would be in the hole 5% because of your %10 tax on revenues.
The primary loophole for billionaires is that they don’t actually have any income. They own shares in companies that are now worth billions of dollars. But if they don’t sell those shares, they have little income.
Examples:
“As Berkshire’s CEO and chairman, Buffett recommends to his board of directors how much he should be paid, and decides the rest of the executives’ compensation. The 92-year-old has received $100,000 a year since 1980 — a fraction of the $18 million average pay of S&P 500 CEOs in 2021. Buffett doesn’t earn much from other sources either. He netted double his salary in annual directors’ fees in the 1990s and early 2000s, before he resigned as a director of The Washington Post Company and stepped down from other corporate boards. The highest annual compensation he’s ever received at Berkshire was $525,000 in 2010, comprising his $100,000 salary, $75,000 in directors’ fees, and $350,000 allocated to his security costs.
“Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world, has made the same $81,840 salary for two decades. He has never taken a stock award. Bezos doesn’t need it – he already owns 16% of Amazon, a stake worth more than $100 billion.”
“However, one name on the list stands out: Elon Musk of Tesla. Although Musk earned a whopping $99,744,920 in 2016, his official salary was only $45,936, which reflects the minimum wage requirements for California. And he never accepts the money.
“Zuckerberg first requested a $1 salary in 2013, making him the tech giant’s lowest paid employee.
“Google co-founders Page and Brin started taking $1 salaries back in 2004 when the company went public. Now the respective CEO and president of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, they continue to accept only a buck a year in official compensation.
That’s just the first step.
The second step is that they borrow money using those shares as collateral, and then freely spend that borrowed money because it’s not taxable the way income is. Then they can do some fancy shuffling of things to repay that loan, often leveraging the increase in share price, or using write-offs if business was bad that year.
And it’s not uncommon for them to just keep taking out loans to pay loans on the assumption that when they die it gets settled out of the estate, once again, n

Most of our taxes are regressive and targeted at the working class. This works because very very few people in the working class think of themselves as working class.

Most of our taxes are regressive and targeted at the working class. This works because very very few people in the working class think of themselves as working class.
And many people who claim to be are really just entitled douchebags who have a very poor understanding of what makes anything valuable, way overestimate the value of their own contributions, and get pissed off at the internet when nobody else agrees with their estimation.
American taxes are among the most progressive in the world, if not the most progressive. It’s a ridiculous assertion.
>Most of our taxes are regressive and targeted at the working class. This works because very very few people in the working class think of themselves as working class.
That’s nonsense. There are many sources, one will do: https://www.pewresearch.org/fa… [pewresearch.org]
Feel free to share sources of your own. The richer you are, the greater the share you’re paying and the higher your effective income tax rate. If you were to remove from the tax pool anybody individually earning more than $100k per year the system would b
in the USA there are literally over 100 million people, about 1/3 not in the work force. USA taxes people enough to allow a third of its population to live without working. I would say USA is taxed much more than enough, less would be better.
Yeah! Get those 54 million old people [acl.gov] back to work, damn moochers. And those 74 million children under 18 [childstats.gov], moochers too. After all, if you aren’t working your population cradle to grave, there’s something seriously wrong with your country.

Anything to Combat Income Inequality is good, you insensitive clod!

Anything to Combat Income Inequality is good, you insensitive clod!
Bullshit. Giving money to every person in the U.S. for doing less than nothing is creating a huge welfare state that only drags down the entire GDP.
“Oh, look! I got even more free money this month! Now I can afford that new TV to watch while I sit on my ass doing nothing!”
The [referenced] paper appears in advance online form in The Review of Economic Studies, aka The Justification Institute for BMI Welfare. Every welfare recipient should have a 20-hour community service requirement. It could be volunte

We need to understand that the eventuality of automation is that there will be no more labor.

We need to understand that the eventuality of automation is that there will be no more labor.
That will not be true until we have AGI. Once that occurs, the world will change so profoundly that finding a job will be the least of your concerns.

There simply is not enough work for humans in the long term future.

There simply is not enough work for humans in the long term future.
Lump of labor fallacy [wikipedia.org]

How does anyone pay for anything?

How does anyone pay for anything?
Once anything can be produced with zero human effort, everything will be free, and there will be no need to pay.
I don’t believe the concept of the lump of labor applies to a world where the labor is no longer performed by humans. In the past we were able to shift labor, but when all things can be built by machine (including the machines) I just don’t see the new labor path. I also don’t believe the rich will let everything be free willingly. Power is what they crave and if everyone was like them they would have no power.
There must be have-nots in order for their to be people who feel powerful.
“Once anything can be produced with zero human effort, everything will be free, and there will be no need to pay.”
So, everyone will be able to live in 25,000sqft mansion on the nicest beaches? For free?

So, everyone will be able to live in 25,000sqft mansion on the nicest beaches? For free?

So, everyone will be able to live in 25,000sqft mansion on the nicest beaches? For free?
Yes, using virtual reality.

Income inequality is the result of productive inequality. The more you produce, whereby you directly or indirectly trade your wares or skills with more people voluntarily, the more income you generate for yourself.

Income inequality is the result of productive inequality. The more you produce, whereby you directly or indirectly trade your wares or skills with more people voluntarily, the more income you generate for yourself.
Nick Hanauer has something to say about that [youtube.com]. And given that he is one of the point-zero-one-percenters, as well as being a buddy of Jeff Bezos, you might be interested in his take on the situation. But if for whatever reason you don’t watch it, you can at least take a way this direct quote: “… here’s the dirty secret. There was a time in which the economics profession worked in the public interest, for everyone; but in the neo-liberal era – today – they work only for the big corporations and billionaires
You will own nothing and be happy!
Fantastic summary/comment:
“focus on (and they are shifting) towards protecting the earth and putting capitalism second and eliminating totalitarianism entirely as the 3 new priorities.”
I’m wondering if the environmental thing could be framed to capture “religious needs”, ie. giving people something to believe in. The world is missing that, and it contributes greatly to charity and social cohesion (even with varied religions).
I also think this might be a viable route to a third party in the US (maybe, the
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