As Robots do the Jobs, Should We Own the Robots?
|July 28, 2014||Posted by Staff under Editorials|
This 2014 excerpt of BoingBoing, Jly 23, is by doctorow5d.
Have we a “shortage” of humans to care for other humans? What people really mean when is that employers don’t pay enough to attract and sustain workers to do it.
What business means by “there are not enough workers” is “there are not enough workers at the price we’re willing to pay.”
If we persist in the view that the dividends from robots’ increased productivity should accrue to robot owners, we’ll come to a future where there aren’t enough owners of robots to buy all the things that robots make.
Property rights may be a way of allocating resources when there aren’t enough of them to go around, but when automation replaces labor altogether and there’s lots of everything, do we still need them?
The unwillingness of economists and thinkers to contemplate it tells us that we’re arguing about what kind of railroad rules we should have once there are automobiles everywhere.
Ed. Notes: If you want to live in the privacy of your own home, won’t you need that right and to own the house? And what about the land beneath it? And the land beneath the factories? And the land above those resources? And the locations in the EM spectrum? Somebody does and will own all those valuable aspects of nature. Which is fine. But should they keep the rents for those valuable locations or pay them?
By analogy, you may have a child, but do you own that child’s labor? Even after paying so much for the child’s upbringing? A better example. You park downtown or at a park in the country, because space is limited and the people excluded by your presence deserve compensation. Similarly, you as an owner of land would not keep the rent from your community but pay it to your neighbors, just as they would pay you.
Everyone would pay land dues (like land taxes) into the public treasury and get rent dividends back (like Singapore does). Plus, extra awesome is this: as technology progresses, it pushes up site values; look at Silicon Valley. So if your society is recovering and sharing those values, then the farther hi-tech advances, the fatter your dividend check grows. Finally, it would not matter at all how many jobs disappear — and property rights could stay the same.