December 13, 2016

To who should productivity of robots belong? Why not tax it and share it out with a Universal Basic Income scheme?

Sir, I refer to Carl Benedikt Frey’s “Make technology work for the many not the few” December 13.

In 2012, in an Op-Ed titled “We need worthy and decent unemployments” I wrote: “The power of a nation, and the productivity of its economy, which so far has depended primarily on the quality of its employees may, in the future, also depend on the quality of its unemployed, as a minimum in the sense of these not interrupting those working.” And I feel that statement is becoming truer day by day.

What to do about it? Day by day I am becoming surer that in some sort of Universal Basic Income lies the answer. Let us put some payroll taxes on robots. That would not only allow many humans to compete better for jobs but, if the robots win, then those taxes could help fund a Universal Basic Income.

In Trump terminology: Let us build a wall against robots and have these pay for it!


PS. Canada