Dear Editor,

It is time to tax productivity by robot like we do labour.

I have been trying to articulate a concept not too complex, but some of my peers do not seem to fully comprehend, or at least understand the scale of concept.
Now to be clear, I am talking about this from a purely undergrad comprehension of economics and history. There is plenty of better-supported material out there if you care to indulge in some econometrics and historical statistics. But for over 70 years now, a huge amount of taxation income has come to our governments in the form of income tax.

Now for seven decades, economists and politicians have been arguing about the nature of these taxes — too high, too low, graduated, flat tax — although no serious economist in 30 years has called for a flat tax.

But, what seems to have slipped through the cracks is this simple fact: with demographics approaching a point where demographics will not support the replacement of the Boomers, the HUGE amount of income tax generated in the past simply will not be generated in the future.

The younger generations are making less income, and there are less people, compared to the Boomer era, so what now?

To make the matter worse, because income taxes dis-incentivizes labour, firms have been replacing labour with automation at an astounding rate. We have to look at automation in two ways: First of all, it creates un-employment, thereby reducing income tax, but it also creates productivity that is not taxed as much as if this productivity is produced by labour. Who gets this extra money from the non-taxed productivity due to robot? You guessed it, the one per cent.
So what do we do?

Well, the service industry will always be more labour intensive than anything that is more automatized, but it also does not immediately pay as well as export production type jobs.

We must face the fact that we MUST tax production by robot, and shift to some form of dignified minimum guaranteed income.

If we do not do this, then we will create a system of robot-owning overlords, and underemployed peasants.

One could argue that we are already there.


Joe Nusse
Valemount, B.C.