Regular readers are familiar with my suggestions for time as an economic measure or price, for units of time based product which aren't capable of traditional scale. Time arbitrage would allow knowledge and skill to scale in lieu of time, as a useful continuum in circumstance where knowledge and skill may lack sufficient institutional context. Today's skills arbitrage pricing has limited pricing relevance in the open market, since these labour prices don't represent a coordination point for aggregate time value. While time arbitrage would also carry monetary representation (as a general price mass produced commodity), time would function as the price clearing point for the aggregates involved. Even though time arbitrage would not likely impact labour pricing in general equilibrium conditions, it could bring much needed additional time priority value to defined equilibrium settings.
I've reiterated these points in part as a response to a Project Syndicate article from Mariana Mazzucato, "Let's Get Real About Purpose". She questioned why economic activity should be purely a matter of price, and continued:
To get real about purpose, we need to recognize that value is created collectively and build more symbiotic partnerships between public and private institutions and civil society. In doing so, we must address three questions: what value to create, how to evaluate the impact, and how to share the rewards.Certainly I agree with Mazzucato that value is quite often a collective endeavour, and deserves to be more so. Plus I would also agree with her (in a specific sense) that monetary price is often inadequate for time based product. Nevertheless, I feel her arguments for strengthening "symbiotic partnerships" fall short, for these relationships have long prominently featured in the economic landscape with mixed results. As to creating recognizable value beyond a monetary price, I believe time value is the best approach to bring a new dimension to economic exchange. Indeed, time value as economic measure would also make it simpler for individuals to personally manage for important considerations such as health and happiness.
Economic time value would give us more concrete means to evaluate the impact of what we do. Regarding "how to share the rewards", what's important here, is determining how to make certain that all citizens not only take part in important daily activities which don't scale, but also have production and workplace access to economic activity which does scale. Without such access, we tend to find ourselves limited to demanding more for our skills and knowledge, than many individuals - and governments for that matter - are actually able to support.
To maintain productivity gains in the near future, we will also need a better understanding, how to respond to the fact much of the market is already being given over to product which does not readily scale. Our lack of understanding means this process is occurring at high cost and with low levels of economic participation, for too many citizens. Not only has the percentage of non scale time product been growing in recent decades, it is a major factor in declining total factor productivity and losses in quality of life. We will always need to work with one another in ways that do not readily scale, but we need to do so without the high level of debt and supply side limitation which now accompany this endeavour.
The prices which are functional and integral to our tradable sector activity, will always be important. After all, they are the best indicators where traditional output gains continue to occur. However, if we are to maintain long term growth well into the foreseeable future, we will need to be less dependent on price making from the largess of tradable sector activity, for the many diverse areas of work we engage in that don't readily scale. If we can create real value for our time priorities as economic units, it would ultimately become easier to break our dependency on price inflation and supply side limits as our primary means to create quality time based product.