Friday, July 10, 2015

Services Production: The Potential for Non-Rival Time Value

Why are some individuals so disaffected with the present day economy? There is too little social context for coordinated work efforts, outside of normal workplace norms. The use of rival time value in most workplaces, has also meant uneven workplace distributions across the U.S. Centuries of agriculture - for instance - took place in coordinated and widely dispersed non rival conditions. For the most part, everyone's time could contribute to the output of group efforts. Families similarly reflected this structure, and non rival time in these circumstance contributed to multiple aspects of productive labor.

However, these earlier forms of spontaneous coordination are no longer needed. Most workplaces evolved into patterns of externally provided coordination, which added value from rival time use. Recently, holes have begun to appear in these workplace distribution patterns. Rival time use involves exclusionary methods, and relies on highly specific means of resource aggregation. If one has insufficient access to these forms of work patterns, it may be difficult to live out one's life through normal means - especially if full time self employment is not an option.

Somehow, populations will eventually adapt. But will they opt to create new non rival forms of work, which take the place of earlier patterns of local group coordination? Some potential methods do not have the capacity to move societies forward, which is something policy makers need to consider. The more this issue gets neglected, the more crude any "solutions" might become.

For example: reversions to "sustainable agriculture" can be confusing to economists, when they are taking place alongside more efficient means of production. What's the point? Even so, this form of adaptation is by no means restricted to particular income levels. And for anyone with insufficient economic access, the efficiency gains of modern production don't always apply - particularly when political parties find it desirable to abolish food stamp programs. Whether or not self sufficiency is treated as a desirable experiential good, it provides economic options when society does not see fit to do so.

Without sufficient attention from policy makers, reversals in labor force participation could eventually lead to informal economies that don't benefit from or contribute to the formal economies of the present. Services production could be a positive exception in this regard. Knowledge based services are a potential choice for non-rival time value which needs to be taken seriously. Why so?

The marketplace for knowledge based service formation is woefully incomplete, for rival time value diminishes marketplace potential and range for time based product. Whereas slow food movements represent (relatively) more work for less product, non rival time value for services production is more work for more product. By adding non rival time value for services creation instead of traditional production (as a sustainable option), non rival time value would not displace a more efficient marketplace.

Time arbitrage could also reconcile monetary compensation with the time limit realities so many individuals face. One often hears, "You don't pay for things with money, you pay for things with hours of your life." People are reluctant to trust money (and by extension, capitalism), when time has insufficient value to contribute to a good life.

Consider the psychological and social effects, when most time value is treated as rival to other time value. In school playgrounds, children often act out the ongoing struggles of their parents in the workplace. When time is rival in most circumstance, there are constant efforts to remove anyone and anything deemed not "good enough". Even the minimum wage is another rationale for further exclusion, through the rival selection of stamina and character traits deemed desirable. Populations resort to this sorting mechanism, even though rising minimum wages make it difficult for businesses to survive the changes in local equilibrium.

Services need not be thought of strictly as obligations for governments and traditional producers in the economy. It is every bit as possible for human capital to organize for services production, as for other forms of capital to organize for traditional production. But in order to to so, services need organizational capacity in non rival context. Otherwise, it's not possible to use time value to generate free flows of knowledge and information. Nor is it possible for human capital to become a direct source of wealth, because asymmetric time value has to be compensated from other forms of value. Services production is a worthy option for the future, because it would allow individuals and groups to add more value to the marketplace than presently exists.

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