What value do services hold, in relation to products and commodities which "obviously" contribute to wealth? I say obviously, because even though everyone uses services through the course of a lifetime, time based services are generally not thought of as wealth producing. Many forms of services product - important though they are - still exist as burdens for public budgets. As a result - even though time and knowledge based services are central to wealth creation - it has been difficult to think of service formation as a solution for reduced labor force participation in the present.
Fortunately, no one actually has to determine the value of services in relation to other products or commodities, because doing so isn't really the point. Determining what time based services "should" exist - or how their value compares to other goods - is not the problem which needs addressing. Instead, people need to be able to generate a services marketplace which more closely matches the reality of their time availability. By utilizing time value as an anchor, it also becomes easier to determine one's level of potential commitment for other forms of resource management, as well.
One factor which now inhibits long term growth capacity, is the growing impact which indirect services formation has on other forms of production. Central bankers are resorting to tight monetary conditions, possibly in the mistaken belief that doing so could address these imbalances. More growth is needed - not less. A marketplace for time value and knowledge use needs to be directly generated, in order to make full employment a real possibility. Time value - as purposely matched and coordinated within local groups -could generate economic activity which no longer represents further budget constraints. Through increased services levels, other forms of production could also increase. This in turn could encourage central bankers to once again provide sufficient monetary capacity for long term growth.
Too much time based services formation has been approached indirectly, both in terms of production and consumption. Even as Washington provides subsidies for healthcare and its associated industries, employers are expected to contribute to the healthcare "cause" as investors are exhorted to invest during the entire course of a lifetime, in hopes of gaining sufficient spending capacity for the unknown services needs of retirement. Even so, careful savings and investment in this regard is no guarantee, when healthcare issues intervene.
Not only has compensation for services consumption become difficult to sort through, so too the steps that are involved, just to participate. Too much of the services marketplace is structured to benefit from the costs of access. Whereas too little of the marketplace, is actually structured to benefit from the vast quantity of knowledge and skills sets which already should be available. Decades of time investments for education have served more as lottery tickets for societal inclusion, than as means for anyone to assist or inspire others. Marketplace entrants have been treated as workplace "candidates", instead of individuals for whom the time has come to repay their prior investments.
Individuals need a chance to rediscover the relationships between time based services, commodities, asset formation and infrastructure which could better match their lifestyle preferences. This is not something which populations can expect policy makers to do in their stead, if only because many policy makers now live by different sets of resource use than other income levels. For example, it no longer works to think of full employment potential in terms of government or special interest responsibilities, because neither are realistically structured for the marketplace which individuals actually need.
Services potential is the production frontier of the present. However, it needs to be recreated by those who wish to take part in the knowledge based services marketplace of the future. By placing less emphasis on the marketplace which "sells tickets" for economic access, a new services marketplace would gradually have a chance to emerge.
A new services marketplace needs to send the message that everyone has the ability to help and assist others, not just the best skilled who everyone expects to jump the appropriate hoops. The world becomes a dangerous place, when the elite messages everyone else that they aren't "up to the task" of holding responsible societal roles. Services potential is also wealth potential. But services wealth needs to occur on terms which allow individuals to directly negotiate with one another. Furthermore, it needs to take place in relation to local investment structures, so that local non tradable activity can be better coordinated with the tradable wealth of national and international economies.