For a long time, governments have been able to rely on the conditions that value in exchange economies create, in order to contribute to knowledge based services formation. Strictly speaking, money is not just the preferred means of getting things done in a value in exchange economy - it remains the only means.
That also means no individual is free to contribute time value for the governmental support systems they deem important, in lieu of taxation. Why is this a problem? Taxation has a lot of places to go before it can get the job done that it sought to accomplish in the first place. As a result, growing services needs have led to extreme gridlock in Washington, as disputes continue regarding who even "deserves" services. However, democracy does not have to be doomed, as Yglesias feared in a recent post. There are better ways of moving ahead, which have yet to be considered.
While the seemingly infinite resources of a value in exchange economy can coordinate the time of individuals up to a point, that point has been reached. Even though some in power likely suspect this reality, sharing this knowledge with the public would mean putting their own social and economic standing in jeopardy. In the meantime, growth is slowly being scaled back, as production seeks a closer alignment with the services which remain possible on normal value in exchange terms.
In spite of recent employment gains in the workplace, low labor force participation rates indicate the degree to which some potential workers are still considered marginally productive. Granted, there are some who neither want to work or who may be incapable of work. Still, their numbers are practically nothing, compared to the individuals who would choose work under more forgiving sets of economic circumstance. People need more freedom to define time value for work according to the needs of all citizens, not just the limited needs of established governments and businesses. Without a reliable work based safety net in local circumstance, citizens lose capacity to contribute to their own well being - let alone that of their families and communities.
Money is presently the only good that substitutes for other goods. However, traditional resource generation can only provide a base for knowledge, time and services for so long. As a result, time value also needs representation as a good which can purchase other time value, so that valuable services generation can continue. Essentially, doing so would generate a parallel value in use economy which is monetarily compensated (at a minimum) with lifetime investment options.
Eventually, human based elements of wealth need to run under their own steam, so that service formations need no longer drag down governments and private industry alike. Today, the value in exchange economics of traditional production, is insufficient to provide knowledge based services for entire populations. The worst part? Instead of generating greater well being, formal education has become a sorting mechanism which arbitrarily divides people into fully functioning members, and a sub class which has little more position in society than a mere animal. Healthcare issues becomes the other part of this sorting mechanism, which drastically limits the lifespan of many who are not able to participate in the knowledge based economy.
This is also why present day taxation doesn't suffice, particularly when government budgets are caught in a tangled web of entitlement transfers - all of which desperately wish to rely on the "exceptional human beings" instead of the "animals". Time use "taxation" of the future needs to remain direct and voluntary, both for the services one desires to seek and provide. Education would remain informal, fluid and according to changing needs and desires. Governments and businesses alike need to get out of the way of what individuals can provide for one another: if for no other reason than the fact redistribution for indirect services formation has become a colossal nightmare.
More time aggregates need to be tapped for their wealth potential, if populations are to continue engaging in the knowledge based services which became the hallmark of governments in the 20th century. This means no more false education promises, as education becomes part of the (monetarily) compensated activity people provide for one another as they move through all stages of their lives. One might even think of knowledge use systems as an organized form of human "fracking", which would be capable of getting at underlying human capital potential which today's institutions simply cannot reach.
Would one think of such a restart for time and knowledge use as government driven? To a degree such a definition is semantic, in that most local individuals would (once again) come to assume broader roles in community. The main problem for government dialogue, is that it devolved to environments where average individuals of average intelligence had no means to maintain their personal circumstance. One primary difference for future knowledge use communities is that some laws would be replaced by guidelines - many which would remain subject to change as cultural and resource based adaptations continue to evolve.
It has been widely assumed that direct democracy is not needed. While this is certainly true in terms of multiple resource and infrastructure capacities, it is not true for services which are a part of the lives of everyone. It is also not true for those moments when citizens need to define resource use and infrastructure beyond what present day governments have been able to provide. This is why local and direct democracy is needed, for the services formation and knowledge use of the future.
Thankfully, a broader role for democracy in knowledge use and services, would make it possible to find the kinds of equality which actually matter. Without a marketplace for time use, the idea of freedom only goes so far for any individual who presently has no meaningful role in the marketplace.