Monday, June 9, 2014

Where is the Rationale for Equal Time Use?

Doesn't matched time "cancel out"? What's the gain in that? Perhaps in the same sense that a loan would cancel out - except in this instance, for newly generated service and knowledge use formation. Thus the consent of two parties for one measurable unit, would allow new wealth in the same way. Because this is a direct formation, it also exists in a monetary - rather than fiscal - capacity.

Without measurable equal time use, most services of the future would remain available primarily through forms of wealth shifting, with all the uncertainties that presents. Therein lies the issue with unequal time use, in that it requires wealth from elsewhere to function, instead of being capable of generating wealth on its own. That is - by its very nature - asymmetrical skills compensation is forced to rely on previously existing wealth, in order to have a possibility of materializing.

Truth be known, attempting clarity on this subject occasionally overwhelms me, for I know that equal time use is an odd concept in any economic sense. There are multiple reasons why I believe in the potential of equal time use, and often I scarcely know where to start. Plus, I find myself explaining what I perceive to be benefits, in "after the fact" scenarios. That is, I've already made the mental "leap" as to how economies could gain from a new form of social commitment. Hopefully this post might help to clear up some lingering confusions.

In a sense, today's lack of growth in developed nations, stems from the tremendous amount of efficiency which has already been achieved. Production efficiency has already begun to replace much of the work which once needed to do done. But in the process, work as knowledge and skills product also became important - particularly that which was capable of expressing cultural factors and which assisted in communication and negotiation.

Clearly, no one ever lost the need for better rapport with others - something no form of automation is going to provide. These are the activities which now need direct representation and applied efforts, in order to renew growth in developed nations. Equal time use capacity could assist in this process. Plus, it would be capable of directly generating much needed services wealth.

Equal time use concepts can be difficult for the casual observer to contemplate. For one thing, these are not barter structures - not even close. Unlike the occasional skills "fill ins" of barter, knowledge use systems could potentially generate economic activity which has otherwise broken down, never quite sufficed or in some other manner become problematic. Through the spreading, horizontal flows of equal time use, individuals would once again be able to pursue shared concerns in measurable ways. In the process, new forms of investment and asset structures would also arise - particularly at local levels.

The idea of voluntarily matched time as amenable to a compensated monetary base, takes some getting used to. Until now, no one really needed to generate community wide, logistically shared activity in space and time, in order to get things done. This function had been carried out reasonably well by many separate institutions. What's more, in many thriving areas, it is still capable of doing so. However - where economies of scale have pushed the margins beyond the reach of reliable small business formation - some areas can no longer keep up in a mature economy.

What's more, governments have botched the idea of a simple low income lifestyle completely beyond recognition, in order to augment their own needs. First, communities can step back from the "greed means more for everyone" mindset, to find what people want and need most as baseline starting points. Domestic summits could take it from there.

However, it's not possible to do this, if everyday consumption needs are not well aligned with time use realities. What is in greater abundance in any particular circumstance - aggregate time potential or other resources, instead? It depends. Even where knowledge use systems would mean living with less in resource based terms, they do not have to mean living with less in terms of services based time. Matched time use would bring a wide range of services potential to groups which otherwise would not be able to take part.

At first glance, equal time use might sound suspiciously like equal incomes, in that the monetary base for matched time use doesn't vary according to skill level. But what is offered is equality of opportunity for time use participation - not equality of outcome which isn't possible or desirable for that matter. The time use base is where local investment options would be generated, for those who are motivated to take part. Applied logistics would eventually make it possible for individuals to find the time use matches they desire - even in relatively low population densities. This would be a tremendous boost in that rural areas would become less dependent on municipal centers. That means they would become less dependent on government subsidies as well.

In other words, economic access is key. Everything depends on the support that community members are able to extend to one anther, for renewed economic activity and continued services evolution. This would be a social agreement which goes beyond the specific mission or the latest project. It would be a commitment for long term growth and economic stability.

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