Thursday, April 28, 2016

Maintenance as the First Economic Discipline

Lee Vinsel and Andrew Russell, in an essay for Aeon (ht The Browser), advocate fiscal stimulus, by reasoning that innovation is "overvalued" and maintenance "often matters more". Might this assessment be accurate? Not so fast. Let's explore maintenance and innovation in a broader setting. Their essay provided suitable context for me to revisit a simple structure, with maintenance as the base. I began thinking about the framework in the early years of this project, and described it in notes as five economic disciplines. While I wrote various paeans to maintenance some years earlier, most of those earlier versions haven't surfaced in blog posts. Hence I found the article title and opening lines by Vinsel and Russell, quite interesting:
Hail the maintainers. Capitalism excels at innovation, but is failing at maintenance, and for most lives it is maintenance that matters most.
Economically and socially, the latter part of their sentiments is accurate, insofar as maintenance requires more commitment than other time based elements of economic activity. However, one problem is the fact their context for maintenance is entirely too narrow. Also, I somewhat disagree that "capitalism excels at innovation", given the numerous structural impediments which presently stand in the way of innovation at multiple levels. And oddly, the authors only associate innovation (which they devalue at length) with private endeavor, instead of public endeavor!

Fiscal stimulus is no longer a reliable source for even simpler, government defined forms of maintenance, given what are now relatively full general equilibrium conditions. While "full" (static or reform resistant) equilibrium need not mean zero sum economic activity overall, it does imply less revenue for proactive fiscal measures, given the arbitrary restraints on growth which private revenue sources now face.

Most important for this post, is that the full scope of economic maintenance extends well beyond present day government definition. Maintenance can be thought of as of the bottom supporting layer of an economic pyramid. In particular, maintenance is integral to the purpose of time based services product which incorporates knowledge and skills on a routine basis. When fully utilized, this function replicates previously agreed upon economic activities or disciplines (as represented by four "higher" economic roles), so they may become broader marketplace components.

Note in particular, that building new physical infrastructure is not equivalent to the maintenance of "old existing things" as described by Vinsel and Russell. These are two distinctly separate economic activities. Often, governments are responsible for physical infrastructure, but mostly generate real progress in this regard whenever broader sets of resource capacity include elements of serendipity (In other words, good fortune for government investment generally includes more than a low interest rate environment). The act of generating new infrastructure, can be thought of as part of a building discipline, which occasionally includes creating additional definition for the (prior) building process. Some readers might remember the five economic disciplines which I referred to in earlier posts:
maintenance - building - creating - understanding - healing
While the above authors are right that maintenance is a basic building component of economic activity, this is also true for the majority of today's time based activity - of which time based maintenance for physical infrastructure is only a small part. Time value as maintenance, also provides education as to what has already occurred in the four higher components of the economic pyramid.  Physical infrastructure is a component of the second step, and exists on a par with other forms of building which contributes to growth.

Today, any calls for additional revenue to support maintenance activity, are suppressed by previous value claims for time based product in general equilibrium conditions. Most important, is the fact this fiscal policy "wish" is but a small part of the maintenance product, that civilizations greatly benefit from. Maintenance has become the promulgation of all existing useful knowledge and skill, through means that are only occasionally linked to formal education.

Consider innovation as the third level or discipline, which is actually the process of creating. Yet today, much of what is referred to as creative endeavor is actually time/knowledge based maintenance activity which is the result of understanding. Today, prosperous regions serve as sources of patronage for knowledge workers, through the asymmetric compensation that fiat monetary formation makes possible.

Also consider the placement of building on this economic pyramid. While the idea of building (whether physical, or the mental "building" component of understanding) arises first, maintenance results from the originating idea. More maintenance is needed than building, in that the original idea is economically replicated and/or preserved through time based product. Again this is true with innovation, as the (new take on the original) idea is replicated through repeated patterns of building.

Understanding matters in this context, because it is particularly a social process of combining the various elements by which people agree to the coordination of economic activity. Understanding can be thought of as the building of mental infrastructure. Once a point of understanding is reached, disciplines can be replicated together. That said, it may be obvious now, what the role of healing represents in this process - particularly when economic and social understanding begins to falter.

Whereas creativity is often associated with the innovation of the physical realm, healing is closely associated with the innovation of the realm of the mind. One might say that the process of (arriving at) understanding or healing does not need to occur often, in order to be be replicated, as is also represented by the small space they require at the top of the pyramid. However, when the moment arrives these attributes are needed, should the moment pass and they are not gained, the entire economic edifice can be affected.

As nations move from the production of physical product to that of knowledge based product, they have attempted to do so on asymmetric terms. Unfortunately, asymmetric compensation has little choice but to seek out the highest level of skill and ability, in a marketplace of time value which includes a wide range of ability. The result? Economies gradually become more fragile, as alpha participants leave (the more numerous) beta participants stranded along the margins. Presently, both public and private entities have vested interests in seeking out the "best" skills and knowledge sets, i.e. the most popular, healthy, and in line with expected orthodoxy. Even social workers are beginning to advocate for those with chronic illness, who consequently face the danger of expulsion from today's workplaces, before they feel able to safely retire or work on a part time basis.

However, betas need to remain economically viable. Time arbitrage would not only provides means for them to do so, but also fulfill broader maintenance roles in the marketplace. Beta groups would have new opportunities for stable participation, through their combined time value potential. Further, new work can be generated along the entire continuum of human challenge. Instead of having to represent a single facet of economic value through external assignments, these individuals would have the freedom - through mutual employment - to move across the disciplines through the course of their lifetimes.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Access Restructuring, Not Debt Restructuring

Debt isn't quite the point, when it comes to arguments about economic stagnation. Furthermore, this is true for both publicly and privately held debt. Instead of struggling to get debt levels and structures "right", why not go to the heart of the problem, for which debt is mostly a symptom: basic forms of economic access now claim a disproportionate degree, of what was once discretionary income for many income groups. Sometimes, what appears as though excessive debt is excessive barriers to living a good life, in disguise. And no government can expect to gain sufficient revenue from expanding basic consumption requirements, indefinitely.

In part this post is a response for Scott Sumner, who recently asked, "Does debt slow growth?" Even though debt loads sometimes appear to slow growth, they are hardly the root cause of economic stagnation. Just the same, debt is often approached as though it were the main problem. In a recent Project Syndicate post, Carmen Reinhart notes:
...nearly eight years after the global financial crisis, burdened by high and rising levels of public and private debt, it is baffling that comprehensive restructuring does not figure prominently among the menu of policy options. Indeed, for the global economy, debt restructuring is the proverbial elephant in the room.
While I share Carmen Reinhardt's concern about debt levels, my response takes a different turn, regarding the possible effects of debt on long term growth. It is doubtful that economic access would significantly improve, were debt restructuring to take place. Also, government debt is more burdensome than private debt, in part due to time based services that governments still hope to fund indefinitely from existing revenue. Just the same, government revenue access will likely face more restraints in the near future, than what existed prior to the Great Recession.

Too many knowledge based services - important as they are - don't readily translate into primary (initial) growth capacity because they still rely on preexisting wealth. Hence the private sector needs to openly acknowledge that some government commitments cannot continue, i.e. some private sector "protection" will decline. Asymmetric compensation alone, on the part of those with enough disposable income to pay for knowledge based services such as healthcare, would ultimately mean a radically diminished marketplace for services formation. The knowledge based marketplace which governments have valiantly sought to represent, now needs stronger commitments and greater societal inclusion, from the private sector. Until this occurs, some aspects of ongoing government budget losses would be suffered greatly.

Meanwhile, private debt concerns are overstated - especially given the fact no one should have to rely on loans for living and working needs as the primary economic option. What purpose would be served, to "wait" for already existing debt obligations to "wind down", only for consumers to be faced with the same debt necessities in the future just to gain economic access? These private debt "overloads" need structural remedies, for the lower income levels which could contribute to potential growth and output levels, if given the chance to do so. Government budgets, however, reflect a complicated dynamic in terms of both marketplace fragility and opportunity. Long term, much more is at stake for public debt, than the need to generate broader housing access which could ease private debt.

National governments began to stray from basic responsibilities and functions, as fiat monetary formation became associated with the worldwide wealth of tradable sectors in the twentieth century. More recently, as they assumed greater roles in domestic economic activity, both citizens and the private sector began to rebel at the revenue now associated with daily government operations.

Thus far however, the main political responses are either threats to cut off existing revenue options (the "good riddance" strategy), or to pretend the problem doesn't even exist. Both responses are non starters. This is why it is so important to distinguish between the kinds of knowledge use which are especially needed at local levels, versus the knowledge use and dialogue most helpful for coordination between nations. Public budgets will still need to account for national and international coordination, while private budgets need to assume greater roles in local coordination.

Even though consumers have been called irresponsible, the ultimate responsibility for debt formation is with the governments which agreed (with private interests) to make consumption requirements intractable in the first place. Some would like to see government budgets whittled away by cutting the economic activity that is associated with them. But cutting out the good with the bad, is only an approach that would lead to tremendous economic losses. Through access restructuring, it may become possible to regain much of the lost ground, that has occurred since the Great Recession.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Some Benefits of Knowledge Use Systems

Chris Dillow asks:
Could it be that the main obstacle to full employment policies is not so much one of technical economics so much as ideology and politics?
Ideology and politics do exacerbate structural problems in the marketplace. For instance, progressives (and sometimes conservatives) inadvertently make it more difficult for individuals to utilize the skills that are necessary for knowledge based work. Just one example in this regard: day care becomes more expensive for all involved, when these service providers are sometimes expected to invest more time and resources for the formal education of math requirements. Just to be able to assist preschoolers. How many four year old children really need to know algebra? Why make life more difficult than it has to be?

On the other hand, when jobs and services face heavy competition, conservatives are more inclined to remove certain groups from the marketplace based on character defects and other "flaws". These efforts are taking some pretty outlandish forms of late. One argument on the part of conservatives is that "losers just don't try hard enough". But when faced with unexpected levels of perseverance from losers, they are also reluctant to back down. In any event, progressive and conservatives both resort to stricter rules and regulations which solidify their prejudices. The results of course include more fragile economic conditions, and more blame to go around.

Another way of stating the problem, fortunately implies a positive response: employment is insufficient in the marketplace, because we don't have enough ways to present our time value to others on economic terms. Too much time investment ends up as barriers to access, rather than means for better access. Knowledge use systems would link education to the work that local groups share in the course of a lifetime, instead of using educational requirements as access barriers. New forms of local corporate structure, would create a marketplace for time value which includes education as part of the same compensated network.

Because of existing budget obligations: as things stand now, the heavy requirements for knowledge based work end up subtracting much of the good along with the bad, when those requirements manifest as cuts in social assistance. How to determine which time based product is of value, and which is not? Budgets only have so much room, for the asymmetric one way street that is non reciprocal economic relationships. Also, the efficacy of time based product can be difficult to decipher, when people lack an arena to voice either their own preferences, or opinions regarding (already received) time based product.

Symmetric compensation and mutual reciprocity between individuals is a two way street, much as earlier forms of production once were. Economic freedom is the result of mutual participants - in this instance service entrepreneurs - having say in defining the service product which works for them. As Jerry Muller wrote about Adam Smith in "The Mind and the Market":
In commercial society based upon exchange, every man becomes in some measure a merchant...The pursuit of self interest in the market, with its division of labor and his resulting dependence on others, leads him to adapt his behavior to the expectations of others. The market itself is therefore a disciplining institution.
However, this argument raises an important question. Why does it seem that fewer individuals are now willing to adapt to the expectations of others? In all likelihood, this is due to the fact too much of the process of exchange has been removed from the level of individual activity. Even though production efficiency was the result for tradable sectors, the process of time based services exchange needs to be returned to individuals, in the form of time based product. Some portion of non tradable sector activity will always need to remain anchored to time value, and a new form of corporate structure makes the process viable.

Best, symmetrically compensated time based product would not have to be paid for twice, but only once in a private institution which supports full employment on monetary terms. And through group coordination - as organized over a continuous time frame - each time match represents a step forward as new wealth. When it is possible to match resource potential for product formation at the outset (through symmetrical time use) specific forms of time value do not have to face the harsh scrutiny so often necessary with asymmetrical compensation.

Even though recent centuries have seen tremendous free market gains in physical forms of product, there have not actually been free markets for time value. Thus far, time value has only been economically accounted for to the degree it is possible for those with discretionary income to hire others, or for governments to redistribute taxation so as to employ others. As a result, knowledge use is mostly limited to what the government or private participants with discretionary income, call for. By far these are the most significant limits of asymmetric compensation. As a method for knowledge dispersal, asymmetric compensation is not only incomplete, but the external approach to skills capacity, means that skill potential in some groups will decrease over time, for the ones which experience less hiring in aggregate.

The local corporate activity of knowledge use systems would support a community's economic efforts by providing a connecting network for them which is not always available, outside of today's institutions. Further, it would be able to do so without depending on already existing wealth, given the fact that time value can be matched as a point of economic origin. In each new community, the knowledge and skill that could be tapped is as varied as the community itself.

Some asymmetries are actually highly desirable for civilization and social formation. Not only does the asymmetry of tradable sector (global) resource capacity make a broad degree of social coordination possible, it leads to organizational patterns that make it possible for nations and states to achieve common goals. However, the problem for hierarchical structure is the fact these patterns can only utilize and compensate a fraction of knowledge use potential. Symmetrical organizational patterns would incorporate more choice in knowledge and skill by making the most of time value. The personal benefit, is that of providing a choice for working on equal terms with others.

One important aspect of knowledge use systems is the need to reformulate work options on terms that - so long as individuals are committed to the process - can provide more than casual and fleeting work options in a changing economy. Even though monetary compensation for time value is not equivalent to that of general equilibrium, it would be equivalent to the forms of resource capacity that can be locally tapped in relation to time value. For those who struggle with the requirements of general equilibrium, the time to resource value of alternative equilibrium, could be a good option.

To sum up: what would new forms of local corporate structure seek to accomplish? Among the suggestions in this post are a thoughtful (i.e. respectable) construction of "small" wage environments, and a full range of economic options (mutual employment) for time value. Indeed, time value also serves as a new point of wealth formation, for communities which otherwise often need a beginning point as a "bedroom" community or tradable sector activity.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Public or Private: Who Can Make the First Step?

How to respond, to recent assertions that monetarism is dead? Granted, monetarism as a discipline is changing. Where it was once approached from a somewhat quantitative stance, this viewpoint has shifted towards a supply and demand approach in terms of aggregate spending capacity. Both economic time and resource capacity are represented by money, and their relation to one another is constantly changing. Indeed, market monetarism opens up additional ways of conceptualizing money in terms of economic freedom, which have yet to be explored.

For purposes of this post, imagine the output of aggregate supply as a "race for growth potential" between public and private interests. How to think about these efforts, in real economy terms? Many assume that government is now capable of growth capacity to a greater extent than private interests. While this is viewpoint is understandable, given government involvement across the economy - alongside a growing private sector reticence - few realize what's at stake for growth and economic stability. This issue is all the more confusing for the public, when discussions between opposing economists mostly involve technical complexities or political oversimplification.

Much of it really boils down to this. In a temporarily stalled economic environment, which "side" is best equipped to address a lack of economic dynamism: fiscal policy or monetary policy, and why? That is, who is prepared to make the first meaningful step forward? After the Great Depression in the twentieth century, some government "first steps" for renewed growth had measurable impact, even though monetary assistance was quite uneven. What had become new infrastructure patterns in those decades, also meant a broader economic framework in several respects. Even the expansion of square footage for housing played a role, in that it provided "storage" for the additional supply side capacity of mass manufacture.

However in the present, it is no longer possible for government funded infrastructure - or related strategies - to have the same dramatic effect. Neither Washington - or Main Street for that matter - had sufficient response to the fact the 21st century would not/could not be a redo of the 20th. Today, the digital realm means far less physical space is needed for living and working, even though non tradable sectors have yet to adjust. And while millions of individuals desire to produce and partake of experiential product, again, organizational patterns still need to take this important shift into account.

Today, fiscal revenue for physical infrastructure - while it is needed for maintenance - is a vastly different component, than the multiplier effect of infrastructure which previously contributed to supply side dynamics across the spectrum. And while new forms of infrastructure are needed to generate more closely spaced living/working patterns, national infrastructure dialogue is mostly that of increased competition with already existing infrastructure patterns of general equilibrium - many of which are far from being fully utilized to begin with.

So called government multipliers lose their effectiveness, as government debt comes to include more economic roles that include high levels of ongoing obligation. Today, government debt includes continuous budget responsibilities which make it all but impossible, for policy makers to respond to changing economic circumstance. Again, think about the "race for growth" in which governments have to take two half steps (debt funded activity) to account for each single monetary step on the part of private industry. Until the Great Recession, government was able to access sufficient revenue that it could take enough half steps to stay ahead in the race, if need be.

Private industry has long since lost confidence in government, as capable of providing meaningful assistance for economic prosperity. But by the same token, private interests are also not inclined to make the first move, or - if they are - remain blocked by other players. Just the same, it's Main Street's turn to make the first step in a race towards stronger growth. Even though some will insist they can't, or possibly even insist it's not their responsibility to do so.

In an important sense, the Great Recession was a "contained" depression - a fact which underlies the paradox of those "return to normal" scenarios the Fed continues to speak of, only years later. Perhaps "normalization" reflected the fact that government was no longer well positioned to contribute to a broader growth pattern. There was just one problem. Too many private interests had become content with a protected and limited marketplace which left too little room for economic access.

Fortunately, there are still ways to move forward which do not require the "half step" matched revenue of fiscal policy. Matched time value can renew non tradable sector activity, through coordinated settings which combine public/private efforts into a single monetary framework. Matched time value would represent wealth which requires no debt, public or private. With enough "whole" steps, output would finally return to a level capable of accommodating all who wish to take part.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Why Distinguish Wages from Income?

Income and wages represent different aspects of economic conditions. While wages are more closely tied to localized resource coordination, income reflects resources as connected to broader resource use patterns. Wages are what people and institutions provide, in more or less isolated circumstance which generally don't capture other marketplace gains in the process. Whereas income may include wages plus additional resource capacity that a given institution is associated with.

At the broader level of aggregates for instance, nominal wages are different from nominal income, because the latter is more closely aligned with total (national) spending capacity and a nation's degree of economic complexity. Unfortunately when income and wage expectations become confused, they can overwhelm existing organizational patterns, due to somewhat random claims on resource capacity. Even though many of these claims are associated with fiscal income, by no means is this simply a problem for government budgets.

Potential "needs" on the part of wages and income, are best understood in relation to existing resource capacity, in order to reduce the existing pressures of general equilibrium conditions. Even though it would be difficult to separate wage capacity from income capacity in general equilibrium terms, knowledge use systems could provide means to do so in alternative equilibrium settings. It is difficult to change income expectations in general equilibrium, in part because operating costs and asset values have been structured around these expectations for a long time.

Populations have increasingly relied on income gains, to compensate for the fact that in recent decades, consumption "necessities" require larger portions of what was previously disposable income. Still, these income adjustments cannot account for a decades long lack of innovation in non tradable sectors, which only leads to further imbalances in both aggregate supply and demand.

Non tradable sectors particularly rely on the revenue of standard corporate income for their organizational capacity, instead of the wages associated with economic activity beyond prosperous regions. Standard corporate structure maintains a relative income producing advantage (as opposed to base wages) depending on what is sometimes a worldwide market position. Whereas the nature of market connections for local municipalities tends to shift over time - a fact which can negatively affect previously established local income demands.

When municipalities rely on legalized income requirements (including pensions, etc.), they can eventually run into difficulties re long term infrastructure maintenance. Local governments often struggle with budgetary frameworks for salaries and benefits that were designed during periods of prosperity which contributed to local economic conditions. New forms of local corporate structure (that combine private and public efforts) need greater flexibility in this regard. A stable (internal) base wage would provide for both local asset formation and maintenance costs. By separating income potential from wage potential, new communities need not be caught in unrealistic scenarios for infrastructure maintenance over the long run.

However, wage compensation for time arbitrage would be understood as a starting point for economic activity. Otherwise, non tradable sector egalitarian wages with no discretionary income potential (from tradable sectors), would quickly devolve into a no growth environment. Consider the primary difference between symmetric wages and asymmetric income in this instance. Coordinated time value exists as a steady state, while income remains representative of potential for expanding resource capacity. Distinguishing wages from income allows growth to evolve without creating false expectations as to income capacity, which relies on events that go well beyond local conditions. The time resource value which people know they have, is that which involves the least commitment risk for asset and services formation.

In all of this, capitalism as present day organizational capacity, is the income potential which holds the greatest promise for personal freedom. Knowledge use systems would embrace the discretionary income potential of tradable sectors which serve to bind small local economies with their surrounding neighbors. The primary purpose for separating wage capacity from income capacity, is to prevent the dilution of time value in relation to the lower rungs of a hierarchy of needs. Whereas income and wages combined represent total resource capacity, an internal wage structure provides greater certainty for life's basics, which in turn means courage for life's greater challenges.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Notes on Democracy and Production Rights

When is direct democracy possible? Direct democracy is an option for services creation in small decentralized settings, when production (property) rights are extended to the creation of personalized time based product. Where time aggregates are approached as the resource capacity people are granted by nature, production rights would allow time to serve as "votes" for time based services production and consumption.

Consider the vast differences in time value, that exist in present day general equilibrium. Indeed, representative democracy is sometimes compelled to diminish the voting impact of "bad voters" who hold insufficient time value in the marketplace. And yet the "good" voter who holds "outstanding" time value, also gains from the fact that important forms of knowledge use were limited by design. Even though one hears of "makers" and "takers" who contribute to society or (supposedly) diminish it, many "makers" are no longer so much the producers of things, as simply the recipients of knowledge use privilege.

Today's democracies are caught up in an increasing struggle to coordinate what have become vast differences in the economic value of time. The broader the population represented, the more difficult it becomes to manage existing resource capacity alongside depressed aggregate time value. While wide variance in time use would be problematic enough at local levels, it is even more difficult, when knowledge use restrictions are imposed at national levels and involve millions of people. Too many public private associations for economic patterns have gotten in the way of production rights.

In some respects, representative democracy ultimately needs a different approach to resource capacity. National governments are well suited for the circumstance of tradable sectors which are responsible for product formation at international levels. Even though government budgets could readily manage basic functions well into the foreseeable future, redistribution for production and consumption of time based product, imposes too many burdens on revenue capacity.

Ultimately, governments become more fragile when they assume the power to assign production rights to anyone, because they cannot extract enough revenue from those with production rights, to compensate for those who don't. As too many special interests have assumed rights of production, governments are now in the odd position of demanding further revenue from those without production rights, who were often subsisting on already recycled forms of government redistribution. At some point, individuals will need the production rights which allow everyone the chance to assume maker roles. Only then will less redistribution become necessary, so that more growth can finally take place through monetary means.

Even though knowledge use systems would seek to highlight production rights for knowledge use, some production rights for tradable goods have also faced arbitrary limits in general equilibrium. Only consider the multitude of homeowner restrictions when home production appears to impede property values.  And it doesn't seem four years already, since a series of articles when homeowners faced fines and possible jail time for planting gardens in the wrong place in their yards. Indeed, as losses in production rights are increasingly taken for granted, basic income arguments become a default fallback point across ideological lines. According to Scott Sumner:
I'm starting to see a trend in the comment section that I never thought I'd live to see. Progressives write in complaining that it's cruel to have an economic system where low productivity people need to work (even with wage subsidies). Instead we should have a guaranteed annual income, so they can pursue other activities, such as hobbies or volunteer work.
Imagine receiving a "low productivity" label at a young age, and never gaining the chance to overcome it! While hobbies and volunteer work are desirable, they often do not provide the means for personal interaction with others that some imagine. Even volunteer work now requires such a high level of trust, that individuals who have been deemed "insufficiently productive" might not be chosen to assist in volunteer activity.

Granted, it requires more effort to create a future which includes work for everyone, than to simply pay off those who are not wanted or "needed". Fortunately, we have the means to return to a more normal world, which includes allowing people the full use of their own humanity on economic terms.  Should governments choose instead to leave production rights in limited quarters, representative democracy would become increasingly difficult to maintain.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Hopes, Dreams and More, Re Economic Access

As it becomes clearer that some areas in the U.S. still face poor economic conditions, greater clarity is needed, in terms of what is ultimately at stake. Yet economic access is about more than just having a job, or even a relative degree of financial security. How does economic access contribute to prosperity and well being?

Broadly speaking, economic access can be thought of as having reliable means to tend to the basics of life, as well as one's obligations to others. What's more, the beginning point of fulfilling basic needs is necessity, before it really becomes possible to pursue life aspirations and the most challenging forms of work. And meaningful work is not necessarily the same thing as a stable job, with the usual perks and benefits.

However, since many products deemed as life's necessities haven't benefited from innovation, populations are held hostage on the lowest rungs of the hierarchy of needs for no good reason at all. Too little room remains in the marketplace, for knowledge use options that many were better suited for, and had hoped to be able to pursue. Broader forms of knowledge use capacity and experiential product have been limited by design.

Other problems with economic access revolve around population densities, which make it difficult to effectively organize for services creation where it is needed most. Even though the digital realm makes it possible to reconfigure organizational densities, this process has not yet begun. Limitations of primary knowledge use to prosperous regions, is also expressed in growing divisions for real estate values.

Why hasn't a proactive response to arbitrary marketplace limitations already taken place? Where limits exist, so too opportunities for economic access. Many in academic settings steer clear of the economic arena in terms of direct action, which is understandable given the possibility of exacerbating problems even further. Unfortunately, however, other groups are also not well positioned to generate better marketplace outcomes. When knowledge use is mostly limited to student or "interested observer" roles, negative externalities continue to multiply. And as those externalities worsen, policy makers resort to reactive responses, instead of those that could be helpful or proactive.

Despite these problems, economic access as societal dialogue is difficult. Those who remain connected have busy and involved lives, which are far removed from family, neighbors and citizens which do not. They cannot afford to give much consideration to those who are marginalized, just as many who lack economic access, no longer have sufficient confidence to remain in dialogue about the situation.

Indeed, these circumstance help to explain why I'm so grateful to have this blog, as an outlet to be heard. Blogging means being able to air my concerns at a personal level which is often not possible in daily life - or other forms of social media for that matter. Still, it was late in life before I finally gained the courage to write with intent to publish. Among the things I have to be grateful for, are thousands of dedicated authors (and more recently bloggers), whose arguments I considered for many a decade, before daring to voice my own.

In fairness to today's institutions: how could anyone have known, how important it would ultimately become, to link knowledge based specialization more closely with local economic patterns. Even though time based services production could continue solely from the vantage point of prosperous regions, it's a process which would only make economic access more difficult as time goes on. People are habits of ritual and routine, and meaningful work needs to be generated where individuals are able to live out their lives. In many ways, work is the center of one's life. Yet communication with others tends to be lost, when individuals are deemed incapable of providing work that matters.

Meaningful activity - especially that which occurs on economic terms - keeps us grounded in the present. It provides means to not become lost in reminisce about the past, or needless worry about the future. The ability to stay connected to work, is a constant reminder as to the value of respect, for oneself and others. However, organization for work capacity has changed. Whereas separately existing product often demanded work in teams or groups, the best forms of time based product tend to take place on more personal terms.

Work also contributes to a dynamic and civilized society, per the arguments of Adam Smith. Recently I've begun rereading a book I much enjoyed before, "The Mind and The Market" by Jerry Z. Muller. However, due to much uncertainty which existed in my daily life at the time, a lot of the book's contents were forgotten, and I expect this read to be more rewarding. Some of Smith's reasoning could also apply, to a time based marketplace and the vast economic potential such a marketplace would make possible. From page 61:
The division of labor was made possible by the ability of men to exchange their labor or the products of their labor, Smith explained, and the greater the extent of exchange, the more labor could be divided. The systemic exchange of labor and the products of their labor Smith termed "the market". Thus the greater the extent of the market, the greater the possible gains in production...The principle that set the market into motion and kept it going was the inclination to satisfy self-interest through exchange.
Say what one will about skills capacity or any (supposed) lack of it, mutual coordination for skills capacity at local levels would maximize the time based product that is actually possible. Doing so is all the more important, when other forms of resource capacity have often been been arbitraged to take full advantage of scale. The even scale of time use (as symmetrically provided) not only provides a steady means of economic activity, but also a greater dispersal of knowledge use over time.

Those civilizing tendencies which Adam Smith emphasized, could be regained through the direct interaction which is time based product. Knowledge use as economically reinforced at the level of individuals, could reduce much of today's group separation and polarization. When more work prospects become available for economic activity, fewer individuals resort to taking advantage of others, simply because they reason that they don't have to.

Even though Adam Smith wrote for a world somewhat different from our own, his arguments for economic trade as capable of improving humanity, are just as relevant today. I only wish I could argue for free trade with a fraction of the eloquence which he was able to employ. Sometimes, perhaps it is necessary to lose a measure of economic freedom, to once again understand how important it really is.