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Taxing Robots?

SND

Diamond
Joined
Jan 12, 2003
Location
Canada
Is Germany taxing the Robots production income at 45%?
Is Denmark taxing the Robots production income at 50%?

No. They're taxing business income, at a much lower tax rate than people pay. It's also a nice write off to add more automation...

So, I think you missed the point I was making Pete.


Though in the US just replacing people with robots probably makes a lot of sense just for the health care insurance savings, but that was probably already mentioned a few times in the thread.

now back to work...
 

PeteM

Diamond
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Location
West Coast, USA
SND, I think you had two points. First that, since robots can be installed most anywhere, that they will go to the countries where they are taxed the least. Second, that those that tax automation and redistribute the gains ("communism") will have very big problems. Maybe a third one, implicit, that if the US taxes robots and redistributes that income, other countries will still do it and make us uncompetitive in global markets?

Your first point is where I think and said "that sounds right." Companies replace workers with robots when they are better and/or cheaper. Tax robots too high, and you won't see a lot of them. That said, there are lots of applications where robots are so much faster, more accurate, and more reliable than people -- they rarely call in sick or fail a drug test -- you could tax them heavily and they'd still get installed.

FWIW most first world countries have corporate tax rates around 25%. The US used to have somewhat higher rates on paper, but with so many tax breaks many companies paid zero or near zero. Now we have both lower tax rates and still a bunch of tax breaks. And some countries with exceptionally low corporate tax rates don't have many robots or automation -- where a country locates is more than just tax rates. In any case, the proposal in the video wasn't a corporate tax, but a V.A.T. at half the typical European rate.

Second point about "communist" countries having big problems? Well truly communist countries often have big problems -- likely so many problems they can't afford all that many robots. By most accounts the only truly communist countries left in the world are China, Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba, and Laos. The first two (China and Vietnam) are competitive in manufacturing, the last three are a mess. But relatively socialist countries like Sweden Denmark, and Germany do a whole lot of tax redistribution compared to the US. They collect about 15% more of their GDP in taxes and then give citizens things like "free" universal healthcare, education, and job support. Despite this socialism, they compete globally, carry their weight in innovation, have more robots per capita than us, and have pretty happy people. We likely have too much distrust in the US to go the way of a Sweden, Finland (which actually has a guaranteed income), Norway, or Sweden -- but higher levels of redistribution haven't turned those places into hell holes.

My third and main point is pretty much in agreement (though Ox likely sees different takes?) -- robots are here to stay wherever they're cheaper than human labor. If if we were to exorbitantly tax our outlaw them, someone else would still have them. The resulting pressure from our own multi-national corporations (and anyone selling abroad) would be to keep the taxes low -- and thus displace somewhat more people.

The problem remains -- what do we do as more and more jobs are automated out of existence?
 

9100

Diamond
Joined
Nov 1, 2004
Location
Webster Groves, MO
From two friends, one of whom grew up in Russia, the other in Bulgaria, both under Communist rule, life was a lot better then than now. I was just discussing that a few hours ago with my Bulgarian friend, who is back living in Plovdiv now. When Communism shut down in 1989, the state had to divest itself of the factories it owned. Since under Communism no one could amass a large fortune, there was no one to buy the factories and the equipment was sold mainly to western companies who shipped it to places where they could make a profit from it. Galina is Eastern Church and did not like the communist opposition to religion but otherwise she says things were fairly peaceful and they made a good living. Things are a little shaky there with Crimea to the East and Bosnia, Serbia and Kosevo to the West, but it hasn't bothered them much. She says it is hard to say whether the people from capitalist countries were trying to help and didn't know how to go about it or were there to steal. Either way, the result was bad.

In the end, I think there will have to be some sort of handout, but I don't think the end result will be good. Besides other government programs, we have about 3 million people on welfare, not working. Meanwhile, we have all these immigrants looking for jobs. I'll bet that if we put 3 million Mexicans on the dole for a couple of generations, they won't want to do those jobs, either.

Bread and circuses.

Bill
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Location
Airstrip One, Oceania
Not disagreeing with your overall point about automation but it isn't impossible to collect tolls from tourists.
Right, they could have one or two toll booths :)

Otherwise, sorry to say it buy you are kind of a sucker. The Golden Gate Bridge and Transportation District should be lined up in front of a brick wall and massacreed. 120 million for a study of a suicide prevention barrier.

Which you know will become 500 million for the actual thing. Or maybe one billion. They built ferries with gas turbine engines. They piss away more money in a week than you can imagine. Fuck them and their tolls, both.

(The bridge use to be twenty-five cents and the tolls were supposed to be dropped after the bridge was paid for. Now it's seven bucks and you can't even pay it unless you buy their "fastrak" device.)

BTW, traffic over the bridge was worse twenty years ago, but we managed to live with the toll-takers. And Doyle Drive, too. You could go sixty on Doyle Drive, but their new twelve-lane, 120 mph design access roads have a thirty-five mile an hour speed limit.

It was *faster* taking walking beam steam ferries to SF in the 1890's than it is today.

Next time, tell them to place their bill where the sun shineth notteth :D
 

The Dude

Hot Rolled
Joined
Oct 19, 2010
Location
Portland, OR
Haven't had time to read the whole thing but I'll add my main point: I complete disagree with anyone who thinks that, (overall and especially globally), computers have taken jobs away. I would bet $$$ against dimes that, overall, computers have added a lot more jobs than they have taken away. The manufacturing, software, maintenance/support, etc. etc. etc. have created huge amounts of jobs and led to a lot of associated technology. Granted, here and there, people have lost jobs to automation (of any form) but it's been a combination of shift and growth into different areas. Let's look at one thing: healthcare. I walked into a doctors office where there were about 5 people (none of them physicians and they might not have been nurses either) sitting behind PC's. This also doesn't account for all of the people that you can't see that are dealing with all the info generated in that medical facility. That didn't exist 40 years ago.

The Dude
 

Mcgyver

Diamond
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Location
Toronto
? But no matter how you slice it, the problem of automation replacing people persists.
.

yeah, shit, just look at how standards of living and economic growth have gone down the toilet since that started, about 250 years ago. Sure, help those in transition, but its foolhardy to attempt to slow/stop/tax it (well it already is taxed - what do you think a robot does - hint: increase profit)

The only chance you have of your society not dropping to some global mean average of standard of living is productivity gains. It doesn't seem a serious suggestion to layer in an extra tax on the very innovation that brings about productivity gains.

if its jobs you want, take away the backhoes and give them men shovels. When put that way, how insane does it seem?
 

PDW

Diamond
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Location
Australia (Hobart)
yeah, shit, just look at how standards of living and economic growth have gone down the toilet since that started, about 250 years ago.

The only chance you have of your society not dropping to some global mean average of standard of living is productivity gains. It can't be a serious suggestion to layering in an extra tax on the very innovation that brings about productivity gains.

if its jobs you want, take away the backhoes and give them men shovels. When put that way, how insane does it seem?

Better still, take away tractors and go back to 18thC agriculture. That'll fix the unemployment issue, by gum.....

As for computers creating jobs, sure. Where else would we get spammers, robo-callers and similar bottom-feeding scum into work?

Not to mention people like myself who got to spend a lot of time peering out of nice windows in exotic places, pretending to work on software. I might have had to keep an honest job where my hands got dirty. Tried that early on, software is so much easier....

PDW
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Location
Airstrip One, Oceania
I'd heard 5 million (still high) and around 210 million to install it.
Let's skip to the chase and use your numbers. What right do these assholes have to use 215 million of my dollars for their stupid suicide barrier ? (And it's not going to end up at 215, either. We all know that.) Let the 'ciders jump, it's their own business. Fuck the worthless Bridge District directors and the horse they rode in on.
 

PeteM

Diamond
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Location
West Coast, USA
Let's skip to the chase and use your numbers. What right do these assholes have to use 215 million of my dollars for their stupid suicide barrier ? . . . Fuck the worthless Bridge District directors and the horse they rode in on.

Just hoping you'd want to "calibrate" your outrage at yet another thing by not making up the "facts." Your first number (cost of the study) was over by over an order of magnitude and then another 2x.

The thinking behind suicide prevention is that depression is an illness. Trying to prevent deaths by accidents and illnesses is something that some people think is a good idea. The study that evaluated the effectiveness of the suicide barrier figured it had a way better "ROI" than some of the stuff we do for highway safety, drug safety, etc. Apparently a significant number of people with an impulse to commit suicide reconsider, get help, and go on to live a productive life. I know a couple of them, and they're treasured friends who went on to success in life. Also knew an immensely talented (no exaggeration) kid who succeeded in killing himself.

So, basically what you're saying is "Fuck the worthless depressed and the horse they rode in on."

Probably other things where 200 million might be better spent. After all we've "only" lost 1600 people who jumped from the Golden Gate bridge. Could be the mothers and fathers of some of those kids pressed way too hard for a too-late fix. That would be fair enough.

Still, turns out the number one bridge in the world for suicides goes over the Nanjing Yangtze River in China. Something like 2000 depressed/impulsive mostly young (?) Chinese dead there. But, hey, fuck 'em and the worthless moped they rode in on?
 

PDW

Diamond
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Location
Australia (Hobart)
Just hoping you'd want to "calibrate" your outrage at yet another thing by not making up the "facts." Your first number (cost of the study) was over by over an order of magnitude and then another 2x.

The thinking behind suicide prevention is that depression is an illness. Trying to prevent deaths by accidents and illnesses is something that some people think is a good idea. The study that evaluated the effectiveness of the suicide barrier figured it had a way better "ROI" than some of the stuff we do for highway safety, drug safety, etc. Apparently a significant number of people with an impulse to commit suicide reconsider, get help, and go on to live a productive life. I know a couple of them, and they're treasured friends who went on to success in life. Also knew an immensely talented (no exaggeration) kid who succeeded in killing himself.

So, basically what you're saying is "Fuck the worthless depressed and the horse they rode in on."

Probably other things where 200 million might be better spent. After all we've "only" lost 1600 people who jumped from the Golden Gate bridge. Could be the mothers and fathers of some of those kids pressed way too hard for a too-late fix. That would be fair enough.

Still, turns out the number one bridge in the world for suicides goes over the Nanjing Yangtze River in China. Something like 2000 depressed/impulsive mostly young (?) Chinese dead there. But, hey, fuck 'em and the worthless moped they rode in on?

Even if it's 2000/year, that's less than 0.002% of the population. Not even a rounding error.

PDW
 

Mcgyver

Diamond
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Location
Toronto
So, basically what you're saying is "Fuck the worthless depressed and the horse they rode in on."

Such moral outrage. So what percentage of your income/personal wealth do you give to this? half?

Unless you are giving a significant amount, its complacency like most people; but wanting to feel good about a righteous position. I feel suicide a personal choice, maybe not a good one and for sure hurtful to families, but your life is the only thing that really does belong to you and it should be yours to end by choice. Its not where I want my money spent, but hey, if you feel different, give all you got and convince others to do the same.
 

PeteM

Diamond
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Location
West Coast, USA
Seems you've both (PDW & McGyver) missed the two points I was trying to make.

First, if E.G. is going to be outraged about yet another thing in the US, it would be useful to get the facts right. Cost of the study was $5 million, not $120 million. And as I said earlier, that seems high. In any case, Job 1 is getting the facts right, not 20x wrong.

Second, there's at least a reasonable argument to be made for making it hard for kids to commit suicide and treat for depression. Also as I said, there are probably better ways to spend $200 million, but it's not full flame on outrageous. At least IMO.

The more interesting question to me is how incoherently societies value a life. You'd think there would be one metric, maybe weighted for age and productivity. Around the world, lives are valued at around $50,000 -- often without adjustment for age or contribution. Boeing design mistakes or an errant drone kills someone - that's where the negotiations start.

Yet even our government has significantly different numbers for the value of a life (in figuring out which safety measures make sense) depending upon whether it is the DOT, FDA, or EPA. Add in lawyers and lawsuits and the value of a life ranges from maybe $10,000 in some poor countries to up to around $10 million in some agencies, to $100 million or more when some lawyers and insurance companies get involved.

As to the question of what % of personal income I'd give to saving lives (presumably including my own in the event of accidents or illness), I'd like to see a single age-adjusted number used by government, and start with the most cost-effective measures. We spend about 18% of our GDP on health care -- and that not very efficiently. I suspect that drowns the amounts spent on things like product safety, looking out for asteroids hitting the earth, suicide hotlines etc. etc.
 

Mcgyver

Diamond
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Location
Toronto
The value of a life is not difficult to calculate, although it causes squeamishness. Its what actuaries do, oh joy. Take a bunch of danger pay rate premiums and with the data on the increased mortality rates for said jobs its readily available. A few million bucks irrc, of course thats NA not Africa where I bet its a lot less than your 50,000 for most of it.

Its often suggested that good public policy should be evaluated on the cost per life saved. Something that is $500, big win, $10,000,000? don't bother.

None of this or course takes into account that possibly poor old Darwin needs a bit of help, what with modern food supply chains and all, and that perhaps there's an additional cost to rounding off and padding all the corners.
 

Fal Grunt

Titanium
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Location
Medina OH
So no one cared about this persons life prior to them attempting to commit suicide. But once they tried to end it, all of a sudden the state cares?

Why?

Because they want them to be a productive member of society?

Why?

Because The state survives by looting from those that produce?

So my life is valuable to the state in direct correlation to my taxable output?

But my life is no longer my to own and do with what I wish?

About them robots. . .
 

Orange Vise

Stainless
Joined
Feb 10, 2012
Location
California
Then - how doo you define a "robot"?
Is this just anything that looks like C3PO, or your std 6/7 axis Motoman?

In the interview, Gates touches on that. He mentions self-driving cars and burger flipping machines. Manufacturing is included in the group of affected parties, but I would literally bet money (by buying shares of stock) that self-driving cars are going to dominate the discussion in the next 10-30 years.
 








 
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