Science fiction authors have explored the idea that one day robots will replace human labor. The general picture is that the employment rate will be low as only a few jobs remain that cannot be filled by robots.
In such society there might be two groups of people: the few who own robots and the unemployed mass. The former group will be able to live in luxury as they collect the revenues generated by their robots, while latter group is condemned to poverty as they are unable to earn a living.
Currently this problem is not salient and mainstream economists tend to deny that such problem would ever arise. The general argument that automation not only destroys jobs but also creates new ones. I would contend that it is naive to assume that this will always be the case and hence it would be necessary to contemplate such economy and to devise solutions.
Martin Ford has proposed that a basic income would be a necessity in future fully automated society. Further he proposes to create “virtual jobs” for people to earn additional money. Both basic income and virtual jobs are interesting idea and deserve further discussion.
Nevertheless, I would propose a different kind of solution. My idea would to make sure that every person could own robots in order to make a living. The government could pursue several policies to enable mass ownership of productive robot, from giving robots for free to providing cheap loans for people to buy robots.
Rather than dogmatically focusing on “full employment”, we should strife to a robot-owning society.