Friday, May 9, 2014

When Should Knowledge Use and Skills Sets be Compensated?

...That is, in terms of what local economies could generate and commit to, as directly formed services wealth. This post considers some of the economic relationships people would seek to monetarily compensate, through peer to peer interaction and spontaneous group formations for ongoing projects of all kinds.

For readers not familiar with these examples, I'm referring to communities which are in need of more services and employment opportunities than they presently have. Knowledge use system coordination and related skills, can provide new options for local growth potential. However, these activities would be approached from an ongoing community wide perspective. In other words, it's a very different mindset, from that of institutions with limited services missions. Where communities cannot rely solely on separate schools, for profit workplaces and local non profits, these concepts would flow smoothly together, to regenerate economic access.

Communities that elect to take an integrated approach to services formations, would seek to diversify as much as possible, thus combining larger goal sets of their populations across disciplines. Also, these would be generated as newly defined wealth, in that they would be matched both individually and through spontaneous group formations.

Local coordination would allow matched hours to take place on the positive side of the ledger, in that agreed upon time use takes the place of debt. Thus, the end product consists of focused time use as measurable capital. This is a somewhat different arrangement from paid wages for the purpose of (other) product formation, where individuals are hired by institutions with single missions. Rather than a boss and employee relationship, the arrangement could be described as corroborative efforts among entrepreneurs and managers of time use.

Time use in these instances, would span areas which are normally reserved for both public and private endeavor, alongside more personally defined services. For instance, when it turns out that products or services are either short or non existent in both public and private terms, education and resource coordination becomes an option in these systems to fill in the missing gaps. In the short run, decentralized local processes such as this can provide means to alleviate unemployment. As local systems evolve and grow in complexity, their compensation for time use might become a reliable component of nominal income.

How do we know that social agreements to compensate one another for services, would not be abused? The fact that everyone is structuring services within the same time constraints of a 24 hour day, means that all are optimizing time use in an aggregate sense. This process can also go a long way, to gradually smooth existing knowledge deficiencies at local levels.

When knowledge use is approached as interchangeable components within specific circumstance, participants have incentive to learn as much and as widely as possible. It is an approach which allows needed - and desired - knowledge to be diffused far more effectively, in lower density populations. Also, equal access in time use, makes it possible to measure ongoing gains in knowledge use productivity at local levels.

One aspect of smaller population densities (walkable communities for instance), is the fact that complete specialization is not often needed at this level. That's why specialists of all kinds are generally found in the cities. The problem however, is that some populations are increasingly dependent on cities at crucial moments, just as it has become more difficult to access them. For this and many other reasons, lower population densities have much to gain from the reformulation of knowledge use at local levels.

But even more important, is the fact that so many communities need more sources of wealth than they presently have. Some would have much to gain, by seeking out local services formations as direct forms of wealth. Just as citizens everywhere would benefit from greater diversity of activities, so too would many perfectly good buildings, which remain practically unused. By no means should people or buildings have to remain restricted to a handful of activities - the unnecessary bane of many a small town. Individuals could exchange for time use across generational lines, across multiple calendar schedules, as well as leave room for the unscheduled needs of the moment.

Also, multiple aspects of healthcare provisioning and education could be spread through populations with low discretionary income and/or low population densities. This would allow local citizens to respond to proposed projects and ongoing needs as they arise. The more diversity which can be encouraged, the more growth and productive complexity can be generated at local levels. Eventually, a far more democratic definition of the marketplace would ultimately emerge.

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