Re: Anothe aspect
@Bob - I think that's exactly what future governments are going to have to tackle.
For "Fun" I've done a bit of simple arithmetic. NB there's a lot of variables left out!
Suppose we have a company "Acme Products" (for simplicity a fully domestic company that unlike amazon etc pays proper corporation tax and performs in house manufacturing, distribution and retail sales of its widgets). Lets say that it currently employs 10,000 people: 1000 back-office employees (ave £25k salary), 1000 involved in the manufacturing arm (ave £25k salary), 100 in distribution (ave £25k salary), and the rest (7900) in retail (ave £15k salary). Total wage bill = 171M (lets ignore heating, NI, training, uniforms etc for now)
Now lets say the company brings in £500M in widget sales each year (excl VAT), and has additional costs of £229M in terms of raw materials, rent for retail units, electricity for manufacturing etc - so makes £100M a year profit.
The company pays 20% of this profit as corporation tax (= £20M) and its employees pay ~30% of their wages as tax = £50M, so a total of £70M goes to the government as tax.
Now lets suppose the in the future it is able to automate the majority of its manufacturing, distribution and retail operations. So distribution goes to 10 (drone truck watchers), Retail to 790 (store robot supervisors) and manufacturing to 100 (factory robot supervisors). Lets say they incur no addition costs for this. So its just the wage bill that changes, to just £34.6M.
So now the company makes £236.4M profit per year = £47.28M corporation tax & the wages make just £10.38M tax for the government. ie, £57.66M total, £12.34M less than the old regime.
But its worse than that of course, because those 8100 unemployed people (who cant be retained as robot supervisors, or aren't needed anyway) now need lets say £10k each unemployment benefits = 81 M. Clearly the government cant afford this, as its now £12.34M worse off!
So in the simplest terms we'd need to increase the corporation tax to cover that £93.34M shortfall = an approx 40% increase in corporation tax to a total of 60%
Is that a solution... not really - just a starting point. I mean are people still going to be able to afford to buy widgets when so many people are now just barely getting by. The government needs new ways to prevent all the wealth ending up in a few pockets, or the entire economy is going to eventually stagnate and die.