Shangai robots VCG

¿Gravar a los robots con impuestos?

ATENAS – Ken gana lo suficiente para vivir una vida digna al operar una gran cosechadora para un agricultor llamado Luke. El sueldo de Ken genera impuestos sobre la renta y pagos de seguridad social que ayudan a financiar programas gubernamentales para los miembros menos afortunados de su comunidad. Pero, ¡oh, caramba!, Luke está a punto de reemplazar a Ken con Nexus, un robot que puede operar la cosechadora durante más tiempo, con mayor seguridad, en cualquier clima, y sin pausas para el almuerzo, y además no toma vacaciones, ni percibe subsidios por enfermedad.

Bill Gates piensa que, para aliviar la desigualdad y compensar los costos sociales implícitos por los efectos de desplazamiento que conlleva la automatización, Nexus debería pagar impuestos sobre la renta, o Luke debería pagar un fuerte impuesto por reemplazar a Ken con un robot. Y, se debería usar este “impuesto a los robots” para financiar algo que sería como una renta básica universal (RBI). La propuesta de Gates, una de las muchas variantes del tema RBI, nos permite vislumbrar aspectos fascinantes del capitalismo y de la naturaleza humana que las sociedades ricas han descuidado durante demasiado tiempo.

El punto central de la automatización es que, a diferencia de Ken, Nexus nunca negociará un contrato laboral con Luke. De hecho, Nexus no va a recibir ninguna renta. La única manera de simular un impuesto sobre la renta a nombre de Nexus es usar la cifra de los ingresos anuales del último año en el que Ken trabajó, usándola como salario de referencia, y extraer de los ingresos de Luke el equivalente a los impuestos sobre la renta que Luke pagaba y los cargos por seguridad social que Ken pagaba.

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