Monday, March 24, 2014

An Economic World, in an Hour

What could be said about the potential of the economic hour? Suppose it could be envisioned as a matter of carefully orchestrated timing, for multiple (voluntary) economic ends and purposes. Just as actual roads lead to a marketplace for physical goods, the coordinated hour could provide roadways for the infinite diverse product of knowledge use. These individually scheduled hours could also provide means for local economies to function as true, self contained subsidiaries that also exist in a larger economic context.

For this marketplace path, the size of the "crop" (arbitrary skill valuations) being brought to market, is not as important as 1) when the crop is brought to market and exchanged, 2) how many in aggregate need the crop in any given moment, and 3) how many in that aggregate moment are prepared to provide it. No blinders on supply potential allowed. With no blinders - in knowledge based terms - the size of this particular crop can readily adapt to present realities in optimal supply and demand conditions. Knowledge as product in this context, becomes the environment we create in our interaction with its use - rather than an arbitrary and divisive component outside our circumstance.

Much economic value exists in timing, yet this vital factor is not always recognized - implicit though it is to the measure of all product in motion. For our purposes, the timing factor is also a fixed or known quantity which we all hold, in contrast to a world of unknowns which flash across an hour's "screen". It is our interaction with the resources of the moment, which could prove quite amenable to measurement in both both local and global terms.

This holds true both as a monetary equivalence for economic coordination, and the societal or intellectual equivalence as well. The better part of economic velocity in either aspect, mostly occurs when - and how - people can reasonably expect it to happen in the marketplace. A better alternative would be newly recognizable settings, in which otherwise random events gain understandable context and applicability. Said another way, we need more effective means for knowledge use arbitrage and the spatial relationships such cooperation would rely upon.

In similar fashion, a nominal targeting rule could provide a recognizable setting for spontaneous economic activity, where monetary expectations would have a better chance of matching ongoing realities. While both nominal targeting and marketplace design would  be considered normative economic activities, they are not normative in a specific sense but in terms of overall marketplace definition. This distinction is important. Because when "free market" voices are raised against normative economic action, results tend to be ad hoc normative action at various points in the system just the same. What's more, hidden "planning" tends to affect the whole in specific and unanticipated ways.

As to marketplace design: think of the economic hour as a portal, by which individuals have the ability to adapt unique time frames for addressing the more important concerns of the moment. Why should that matter? Think what happens when time use is standardized outside of one's personal domain. Not only does the individual lose the ability to manage time and individual ability (as an entrepreneur or manager would), but  the designated funds for standardized time use, may not be able to fulfill their intended purpose. This is why some fought hard against the idea of working for others a hundred years ago - they knew what the sacrifice of a steady paycheck entailed in terms of autonomy and possibly one's health.

What's more, the monetary limitations of the standardized hour, imply absolutely nothing about true skills capacity, incentive or motivation - nor should money be expected to fulfill these purposes. Time as an hourly portal of economic entry, requires taking back time management, and understanding one's personal limitations. The good news is we can seek out others who learn to properly manage their own limitations as well. By placing our time value into an immediate conceptual and social framework, valuations regarding the skills aptitude we hold as individuals, become far less arbitrary and counterproductive.

All those pools of money which organizations count on for standardized time use, don't just sit quietly unnoticed. And if undue claims are placed upon them, new rents are suggested as "solutions" in their place. The issue of rents has created a uniquely odd form of economic gridlock, in which the reasoning comes across as "just short nominal spending capacity, since the rent seekers would take it all anyway". Bonnie Carr wrote recently about the problems which aggregated money pools can create, and those pools were uppermost in my mind when I began this project years ago. Indeed, pooled monies can be one of the biggest issues that institutions face, in term of the supposed ends they are designated to meet. These monies constantly face competing demands, which especially impact the degree of choice in both human thought and action.

Whereas, the hour as a portal of economic entry for human potential, allows individuals to reconsider their preferred time choices in a broader context. It's not necessarily unfair when we are deprived of resources that weren't ours to begin with, but it is always unjust when we are deprived of the use of our own time which we need to tend to our own survival. In a world that relies on education, skills valuation hoarding is nothing but a thief in the night, as to the value of our own time. If people had real context for coordinating what is the greatest scarcity of all, more money might have a chance to flow to the areas where it is capable of doing the most good - that is, toward the random resource quantities which necessitated the use of money in the first place. In the space of a coordinated hour, a marketplace for diversity in knowledge use can be vastly increased.

The fact that our economic time availability is non random, means that it could be highly responsive to voluntary coordination patterns. In turn, that suggests more effective patterns for random resource use which reflects the actual use of our time. Such methods could reduce rent seeking, as well as dependence on pooled monies for ongoing daily activities. Wherever there is greater certainty as to services availability when it is needed most,  pooled monies are more likely to remain for the resources which best augment collective efforts. All of this allows greater diversity of outcome, and the ability to pinpoint measurable productivity gains in knowledge use settings. How so? By recording the aggregate activities which occur in a given population, with full knowledge of the time potential at their disposal, contrast with the activity results of the previous year.

In the space of a given hour, it is possible for each individual to find the work/life balance they need, and yet remain adjusted to the needs of other individuals in their midst. By using the hour as economic portal for knowledge use, it becomes possible to place the value of our time into a productive realm that equals or surpasses the productive realm one normally assigns to the production of product separate from time. None of this is easy to visualize in the present - that's a given. But once such coordination is utilized and measurable, the results could renew confidence that the future need not belong only to robots, the elite, or the fortunate few in terms of employment.

No comments:

Post a Comment