Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Robotic Automation

So the big story for business is the next major phase of automation. The first phase was the automation of factory work when massive machines were brought in to replace people at their benches, and when tractors and harvesters replaced farm labourers.

One part of this new phase is not robotics but computers. It said they will make redundant all drivers of vehicles. That's every taxi, bus, train, lorry, van, tractor. To be replaced by driverless vehicles run by computers. Millions and millions of jobs will be lost.

The same they say will be true for professional jobs; lawyers, accountants, nurses, doctors.

We've been there before. The scare stories of mass unemployment, revolution in response to mass poverty and a meaningless life without work. Of course, it didn't turn out that way.

But this time there is a real opportunity. We could tax the profits of these new businesses so that they fully pay for the lost income of the mass of workers. It could pay for the concept of full citizen incomes. The idea that every human being will be given enough to survive and enjoy life without having to work, paid by the profits of those businesses which made redundant the old jobs. I think it's possible.

That extra income for the masses will of course be spent, creating a cycle of profit for the businesses, from which tax is returned to pay for the people's citizens' income.

And for many of us we can freely chose what if any work we want to do. It can be totally liberating. The alternative is the demoralisation of millions.