The U.S. House Budget Committee proposed to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services last month, causing consternation among librarians, museum curators, and the people they serve.In times of monetary restraint, it's not a bad idea to plan for possible eventualities in this regard, given the reality of budget issues. Also, it's not enough to assume that standard for-profit organization can always accomplish the goals populations seek. How to think about this? In many instances, local amenities need broader applications and connections to local communities than is now the case.
For instance, today's schools provide insufficient reward for the investment they require, because they do not adequately prepare students to assist in their own communities, afterward. Also, as Ivan Illich noted in "Deschooling Society", schools isolate the very groups which live among one another, in terms of the mutual support such groups could otherwise find. And libraries cannot expect to remain viable, when local book investments become mostly limited to leisure and entertainment which can readily be found elsewhere. Even though libraries are one of a broad category of experiential goods, many aspects of experiential product now need a broader economic purpose.
Not only is local knowledge based product important for educational purposes, it needs to provide structural backup for ongoing service formation and other related economic activities. For instance, do locals have an adequate range of local references to assist them, when their access to professional healthcare or hospitals is limited? Even though so much material is available online, citizens would have quick recourse to action, from information and knowledge which remains close at hand.
Many of the environments which individuals enjoy, are associated with time commitments which can be difficult to maintain, when there is no marketplace for time value. Service capacity and potential time value are both being lost, as labor force participation continues to decline in less prosperous regions. Fortunately, the process of lost labor force participation can be reversed through the local services coordination and time arbitrage of knowledge use systems. New communities would be able to preserve important knowledge and services sets which other communities are no longer either able to support.
Time value would become a part of this preservation process, in that individuals would able to contribute time value to the overall wealth of the community. This process would go a long way to preserve the validity of economic thought for general populations, because it can make vital connections between individual capacity and resource potential. If there is too little appreciation of economic thought in the present, it is because some suspect that the connection between the individual and economic life has been severed.
Social cohesion is primary, and there are ways to think about how it can be approached on more concrete terms. Only consider how trust needs to be preserved. And yet, both governments and private interests have moved in the opposite direction, by profiting off the citizen's attempt to gain economic access, instead of making a marketplace which holds more room for economic access. Trust takes years to build, and yet can be broken very quickly. When this happens it takes a long time to repair trust. The process of knowledge and time value preservation, could eventually go a long way to restore trust in both for profit and not for profit forms of organization.