Bill Gates says tax the robots!

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Bill Gates says tax the robots!

Post Number:#1  Postby Empiricist-Bruno » April 9th, 2017, 7:54 pm

Should the use of robots be taxed if they take away human jobs? The idea does seem to make sense but I'm afraid that this would really make the robots appear more assimilated and entrenched in our environment when it would likely be better to remove them to protect the environment. And if all costs were included in the use of robots, they would be in the red. Your thoughts?

https://qz.com/911968/bill-gates-the-ro ... pay-taxes/
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Bill Gates says tax the robots!



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Re: Bill Gates says tax the robots!

Post Number:#2  Postby Greta » April 10th, 2017, 2:09 am

What if a nation taxes its own robots but other nations do not? Which has the competitive advantage?
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Re: Bill Gates says tax the robots!

Post Number:#3  Postby Spraticus » April 10th, 2017, 6:24 am

Empiricist-Bruno wrote:Should the use of robots be taxed if they take away human jobs? The idea does seem to make sense but I'm afraid that this would really make the robots appear more assimilated and entrenched in our environment when it would likely be better to remove them to protect the environment. And if all costs were included in the use of robots, they would be in the red. Your thoughts?

https://qz.com/911968/bill-gates-the-ro ... pay-taxes/



When you say "all costs", what do you mean? Are you including the cost of supporting the displaced workers, and the potential social cost of revolutionary responses to the rich finally stealing the last thing available.

Might it be possible to have a society where the work was all done by robots but the benefits were shared evenly. It doesn't seem to have occurred to most of the current rich that they are reducing economic activity by impoverishing the majority, not to mention driving them to vote for monsters like Trump.
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Re: Bill Gates says tax the robots!

Post Number:#4  Postby Empiricist-Bruno » April 14th, 2017, 11:50 am

Spraticus wrote:
Empiricist-Bruno wrote:Should the use of robots be taxed if they take away human jobs? The idea does seem to make sense but I'm afraid that this would really make the robots appear more assimilated and entrenched in our environment when it would likely be better to remove them to protect the environment. And if all costs were included in the use of robots, they would be in the red. Your thoughts?

https://qz.com/911968/bill-gates-the-ro ... pay-taxes/



When you say "all costs", what do you mean? Are you including the cost of supporting the displaced workers, and the potential social cost of revolutionary responses to the rich finally stealing the last thing available.

Might it be possible to have a society where the work was all done by robots but the benefits were shared evenly. It doesn't seem to have occurred to most of the current rich that they are reducing economic activity by impoverishing the majority, not to mention driving them to vote for monsters like Trump.



Thanks for your good question Spraticus.

A suicidal pilot, flight 9525, ensures his plane kills all. Machine power is responsible for hundreds of deaths. How do you measure the cost of this? Now, this is a good question. Global warming is largely the result of machine power. What price do you put on that?

No, I do not believe that a society can have all its work done by machines and that the benefits can be shared evenly. And that is because I generally tend not to see robots or machines in general as beneficial things. To me, talking about the benefits of machines​ is like talking about the benefits of smoking.

There is a series of arguments that can be made against anyone who use machines such as my computer to discredit the machines but I don't see how they hold water​. Anyway, this is besides the point.

I'm glad that you, Spraticus, show intelligence in presenting a clear view of the big picture. As I feel sure you have noticed, monsters like to play on people's fears and so, machines are presented as the salvation, the means to escape fear. But the big picture you draw is right on, and it's getting harder​ and harder to imagine how bigger and better robots could really change or improve the situation. Nevertheless, there is a lot of pressure right now on scientists to try and come up with boundless clean and cheap energy through nuclear fusion, as if this would bring everyone happiness.

I do not see as rich people those that are heavily dependent on machines, or those who build their whealth on the backs of machines, such as Bill Gates. So, I can't really comment on all your remarks.
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Re: Bill Gates says tax the robots!

Post Number:#5  Postby Felix » April 14th, 2017, 2:35 pm

I suspect that robots would be very good at tax evasion....
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Re: Bill Gates says tax the robots!

Post Number:#6  Postby Empiricist-Bruno » April 14th, 2017, 3:22 pm

Felix wrote:I suspect that robots would be very good at tax evasion....

I think Bill Gates meant to say that we should have a new tax for a tax payer's robotic profits, and not for robots themselves. However, drawing the line between what is a robot at work replacing a human job and what is simply a tool to help earn a profit would be a fairly perplexing task.
Do you tax a truck's profits extra because it does what would require 100 or more men to do, or do you just tax the factory line robots?
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Re: Bill Gates says tax the robots!

Post Number:#7  Postby Spraticus » April 14th, 2017, 3:55 pm

Empiricist-Bruno wrote:
Spraticus wrote:(Nested quote removed.)



When you say "all costs", what do you mean? Are you including the cost of supporting the displaced workers, and the potential social cost of revolutionary responses to the rich finally stealing the last thing available.

Might it be possible to have a society where the work was all done by robots but the benefits were shared evenly. It doesn't seem to have occurred to most of the current rich that they are reducing economic activity by impoverishing the majority, not to mention driving them to vote for monsters like Trump.



Thanks for your good question Spraticus.

And thank you for all the compliments.
There was a proposal back in the 70s for a new economics, without growth and excess. The idea was that everything would be made to the highest quality, to last for as long as possible. Craft production rather than industrial production. Back then many people realised that endless growth was not only self defeating, but impossible. The psychology needs to change. Instead of having endless supplies of new stuff you would just look for a small supply of the very finest stuff; sufficient but not excessive.

A suicidal pilot, flight 9525, ensures his plane kills all. Machine power is responsible for hundreds of deaths. How do you measure the cost of this? Now, this is a good question. Global warming is largely the result of machine power. What price do you put on that?

No, I do not believe that a society can have all its work done by machines and that the benefits can be shared evenly. And that is because I generally tend not to see robots or machines in general as beneficial things. To me, talking about the benefits of machines​ is like talking about the benefits of smoking.

There is a series of arguments that can be made against anyone who use machines such as my computer to discredit the machines but I don't see how they hold water​. Anyway, this is besides the point.

I'm glad that you, Spraticus, show intelligence in presenting a clear view of the big picture. As I feel sure you have noticed, monsters like to play on people's fears and so, machines are presented as the salvation, the means to escape fear. But the big picture you draw is right on, and it's getting harder​ and harder to imagine how bigger and better robots could really change or improve the situation. Nevertheless, there is a lot of pressure right now on scientists to try and come up with boundless clean and cheap energy through nuclear fusion, as if this would bring everyone happiness.

I do not see as rich people those that are heavily dependent on machines, or those who build their whealth on the backs of machines, such as Bill Gates. So, I can't really comment on all your remarks.
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Re: Bill Gates says tax the robots!

Post Number:#8  Postby Felix » April 14th, 2017, 4:06 pm

Bad joke on my part.... but most tax codes are too complicated, we need to get away from micro-management tax systems and adopt something simpler and broader like the Automated Payment System: http://ow.ly/7sE630aRS31
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Re: Bill Gates says tax the robots!

Post Number:#9  Postby -1- » April 14th, 2017, 5:45 pm

Robots earn no pay. That's one of their basic features. Golem-like.

Tax occurs on income. Not on production, not on sales, not on overhead, not on materials. In fact, all these reduce tax.

So how do you tax robots? Our concept has not grown out of the "income" being taxed.

Maybe they should be taxed for their existence much like property is in property taxes?

What about taxing them on the monetary amount of their adding values to profit.

However: What if all gov functions are also performed by robots? What to spend taxes on?

People who have no jobs will earn no money (in America). But factory owners and producers of other goods and services can still charge money for their products. This means that a lot of people will simply starve to death. Is this a problem? I don't think it will be from the rich' point of view. The unemployed are not involved in production, they are not involved in profit generation, so they might as well perish. (From the producers' point of view.)

So the factory owners will buy each other's products and services, produced and / or performed by robots... in a sparsely populated United States of America.

Not bad.
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Re: Bill Gates says tax the robots!

Post Number:#10  Postby Alias » April 14th, 2017, 9:33 pm

It's more like: Republican, and business-friendly Democratic, administrations have been approving tax breaks for the class that likes to refer to itself as "job- creators".
Suppose you take them at their word and peg the exemptions to the number of human workers they actually employ in permanent, full-time, living-wage jobs.
Tax profits according to how much they pay into unemployment insurance, health insurance, maternity and sick leave, pensions and any other employee benefits; how much they invest in work-place safety and conveniences, such as a cafeteria, continuing education, day-care, hygiene and overnight facilities for shift workers - all the kinds of things humans need.
In this way. the more profit comes from robot labour, the more tax they pay - which all goes toward retraining, early retirement and basic income.
Seems sensible.

-- Updated April 14th, 2017, 8:35 pm to add the following --

Greta wrote:What if a nation taxes its own robots but other nations do not? Which has the competitive advantage?

The one with the healthiest, most content, least likely to rebel population.
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Re: Bill Gates says tax the robots!

Post Number:#11  Postby Sveeny » April 21st, 2017, 2:17 am

Thought provoking idea, but how could something like this be implemented, I wonder. We have a long way to go, I guess, and discussions like this is how we're hopefully get there one day.
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Re: Bill Gates says tax the robots!

Post Number:#12  Postby Spraticus » April 24th, 2017, 7:01 am

Sveeny wrote:Thought provoking idea, but how could something like this be implemented, I wonder. We have a long way to go, I guess, and discussions like this is how we're hopefully get there one day.



We certainly do. First we have to get past the overwhelming dominance of the current economic hegemony and reassert the idea that society belongs to all its members and not just to the top earners. They clearly know that they depend on their workforce to produce the goods, because they get very irate when the workers go on strike; so now most of them are trying to go beyond needing workers, either by being entirely parasitic, as in the financial industries, or by automating the workers away. As long as they control the politicians and the news media the rest of us are stuffed.
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Re: Bill Gates says tax the robots!

Post Number:#13  Postby Alias » April 26th, 2017, 9:41 pm

Spraticus wrote:We certainly do. First we have to get past the overwhelming dominance of the current economic hegemony and reassert the idea that society belongs to all its members and not just to the top earners.

Americans might even have to ask what government is actually for, besides protecting the money. A poser, that.

They clearly know that they depend on their workforce to produce the goods....,

But they don't seem to understand that jobless, homeless, sick and hungry populations won't consume their vast overproduction of instant obsolescence.

As long as they control the politicians and the news media the rest of us are stuffed.

Only until the system breaks under its own weight and the money becomes worthless. ...

...or the robots get fed up and depose the inefficient overlords.
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