Last week, Deutsche bank came up with an a very absurd suggestion of having a 5% privilege tax for remote workers. This is a very narrow view of the impact of remote work at scale and completely ignores a large-scale economy problem that can be fixed with remote working.
- Technological & economical forces fuelled the rise of cities and led to overcrowding over time. This study of Europe from 1900 date shows that 1980 was a point of inflection after which the migration to big cities & the gap of regional inequality has only increased.
- Financial incentives from government or lower taxes to attract big employers hasn't really worked in spreading the population across smaller cities.
- The sudden remoteness due to Covid19 has had a lasting impact on our way of working. This will over time lead to people dispersing from overcrowded, expensive cities to tier-2 cities & towns while keeping their good jobs.
- The shift would also be a more organic one compared to governments getting employers & individuals to move away from cities.
Governments just need to act as catalysts and make more the move easier & more lucrative. This can be by:
- Ensuring availability of fast broadband internet
- Setting up & repairing basic public services, thus creating a good place to live & raise a family.
- Setting up co-working spaces & mobile offices.
- One-time incentive or bonus if people make the move from cities to towns.
- Rubbishing claims of any kind of tax or pay cuts for working remotely (no-brainer, but just calling it out).
Take for example, Tulsa Remote. This is a great example of the success that the local governments have seen by implementing good remote work programs.
Regional inequality poses huge problems and we have got this one chance in many decades to actually fix it. Do tell me what you think of this in the comments.