And we have been coming out of a period in which we kind of act as if the market is a natural phenomenon.Platforms "optimize" for different purposes. For instance, O'Reilly explains:
We understand Google says optimize for relevance, Facebook says optimize for engagement, our financial markets - what do we tell them to optimize for? - optimize for corporate profits, that treat people as a cost, to be eliminated. So, are we surprised at what's happened in the economy? What if we made different rules for that algorithm?For one, I'd suggest that eliminating for unnecessary labour costs isn't necessarily as personal as his quote might be interpreted. After all: Labour costs are connected to organizational patterns in ways which go well beyond specific algorithms. What's more, these patterns are essential components for centuries of progress, in the tradable sectors where labour is recognizably secondary, to the ultimate or final product.
However, the dictates of our non tradable sectors need to be reexamined - particularly where time based (or centered) product is at stake. Is it possible to use knowledge in a context where we optimize for time value? Should we seek economic environments which need not subtract human capital due to budgetary constraints, we can do so by giving an economic dimension to the time value that matches our personal priorities and preferences. Since this time value would be defined via its own (mutually determined) resource capacity, it could generate a decentralized equilibrium that responds to the "different rules" O'Reilly suggests.
Time value that coordinates for time based product in relation to existing capacity, would also provide a new organizational algorithm - one that doesn't need to subtract labour costs for economic outcomes. Meanwhile, where skills capacity is deemed most important, those most likely to preserve their workplace participation in spite of costs, will be the ones with sufficient societal prominence so as to do so. And even these groups would only be able to preserve their skills capacity for a limited marketplace in terms of time based product.
How might one think about the creation of platforms that could generate new wealth via different means? Shane Parrish of Farnam Street, brought to my attention a Rolling Stone article including Elon Musk, and Parrish highlighted this quote:
In other words, if you want to create or innovate, start from a clean slate. Don't accept any ideas, practices, or standards just because everyone else is doing them. For instance, if you want to make a truck, then it must be able to reliably move cargo from one location to another, and you must follow existing laws of physics. Everything else is negotiable, including government regulations. As long as you remember that the goal isn't to reinvent the truck, but to create the best one, whether or not it's similar to other trucks.Similar suggestions might apply for knowledge use system platforms, from their physical constructs to their digital dimensions. Again, it's not necessary to reinvent the practical or experiential use of knowledge, but to encourage new patterns that are more accessible, for those who are currently caught in the "do or die" circumstance of limited knowledge use access. Knowledge use organizational patterns which mostly select for the "best of the best", are scarcely enough for the wealth potential of human capital. The platform future is what we make it.