Automation and how the economy might cope

People are anxious about the economy and health. I wanted to just assert that based on my own experience, but I looked up a report on the subject. The APA says that people are stressed about the economy and healthcare. Surprised? Not really.

There are things we (and by ‘we’ I mean America) could do to help with the economy and healthcare. We could automate more tasks and use that surplus labor for caring for sick people. But what’s the mechanism for paying for that? Should we tax the robots and use that money to pay for the things we want to do? That seems to make sense… kind-of.

2017-03-09 08_10_21-Krita(Actually no, not when you put it like that)

And yet… I find myself convinced that taxing the robots is not a great idea. An article on CNBC talks about why that would hurt the economy and reduce our competitiveness. If we don’t move to robots, we will just end up buying goods from the countries who do. Reason makes a good comparison between a robot tax and protectionism.

The bottom line is that we want to get rid of those jobs. People working in factories are not addressing better problems. There’s an opportunity cost. People working in factories could be taking care of old folks or taking care of kids. Or being creative. Or whatever. Every hour doing repetitive labor is an hour lost to mankind.

So what is the mechanism to pay for people to do good things (like nursing, teaching, learning and caring)? I suggest that we create the money. Currency should be created to match robotic production capacity and spent into existence on the issues we care about like health, education, and more robotics research.

P.S. This kind of thing is totally outside my circle of influence and I shouldn’t waste time on it. But… you know… anxiety.