The future of caring labor

Some of humans’ highest callings are “caring labor”. Caring for sick relatives and caring for children are mostly unpaid. Other kinds of caring labor are “merely” underpaid (think educators, nursing assistants). These jobs strike me as being the most resistant to automation. I think automation will lead to job losses in many other fields. I wonder how we could make the economy support these kinds of work more effectively. Bill Gates was on Quartz discussing this issue. He raised the possibility of taxing robots in order to fund more caring services.

I’m of the opinion that an automation tax is unnecessary and maybe counterproductive. I’m inclined to manage increases in economic production capacity by increasing the money supply. That may not be a popular opinion, but I’m not the only person thinking that way.

It almost doesn’t matter where the money comes from, though. We need to have a mechanism to pay people to take care of one another. We need that mechanism to put money in the hands of the consumer base to sustain economic demand. So whether that comes down to an expansion of social security or a universal basic income, it needs to happen. How we balance the books is somewhat arbitrary. People need to have a way to transition away from automatable jobs (which are never coming back)  into serving the actual needs of other humans.