Shangai robots VCG

Taxer les robots?

ATHENES – Ken gagne décemment sa vie en conduisant une grande moissonneuse pour le compte du fermier Luke. Le salaire de Ken donne lieu à un impôt sur le revenu et des cotisations de sécurité sociale qui contribuent au financement des programmes gouvernementaux en faveur des plus démunis de sa communauté. Hélas, Luke est sur le point de remplacer Ken par Nexus, un robot qui peut conduire la moissonneuse plus longtemps, de façon plus sûre, par tous les temps, et qui plus est sans pauses déjeuner, vacances ni congés maladie.

Bill Gates pense que, afin de limiter les inégalités et de compenser les coûts sociaux engendrés par les destructions d’emplois liées à l’automatisation, soit Nexus devrait payer l’impôt sur le revenu, soit Luc devrait payer une lourde taxe pour remplacer Ken par un robot. Et cette « taxe sur les robots » devrait être utilisée pour financer quelque chose qui s’apparente à un revenu de base universel. La proposition de Gates, l'une des nombreuses variantes sur le thème du revenu universel, nous permet d'entrevoir certains aspects fascinants du capitalisme et de la nature humaine que les sociétés riches ont trop longtemps négligés.

Le but ultime de l’automatisation est justement que, contrairement à Ken, Nexus ne négociera jamais de contrat de travail avec Luke. En effet, il ne recevra aucun revenu. La seule façon de simuler un impôt sur le revenu au nom de Nexus est d'utiliser le dernier revenu annuel de Ken comme salaire de référence et de déduire de celui de Luke un impôt sur le revenu et des cotisations de sécurité sociale équivalentes à ce que Ken payait.

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