Robot Tax: Is There a Justification?



Olaf Merk, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)


One of the biggest political issues of the coming decades is the future of work. Technological advances are such that more than half of the existing jobs could be automated. Automation might create new jobs, but these will very likely not offset the lost jobs.

This has far reaching consequences: uncorrected, automation will erode tax income, the welfare state and lead to very unequal income distribution. Some people say that automation requires the introduction of a basic income and a robot tax. Curiously enough, these issues are mostly absent from current political debate. Ports have been precursors in automated processes, but could ports also lead the debate on such innovative policy responses to automation?

Ports have been pioneers of automation. Long before it became fashionable to speak about automated driving or autonomous trucks, various ports already had their driverless trucks – the automated guided vehicles. These automation processes, like…

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