Taxing automation


I love how thoughtful Bill Gates is – everything he says is considered and informed.

His quick interview (via Quartz) is illuminating.

Touted as: ‘The robot that takes your job should pay taxes, says Bill Gates
at first glance it may sound extreme. But here’s the logic:

Quartz: What do you think of a robot tax? This is the idea that in order to generate funds for training of workers, in areas such as manufacturing, who are displaced by automation, one concrete thing that governments could do is tax the installation of a robot in a factory, for example.

Bill Gates: Certainly there will be taxes that relate to automation. Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you get income tax, social security tax, all those things. If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level.

Which makes sense.

Bill’s main point is that governments (as opposed to businesses) need to be thinking through the ramifications of a robot workforce sooner rather than later.

A useful read.

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By Craig Bailey