Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Incremental Option for Continued Growth

While economic "normalization" continues, a handful of arguments (for increased access) from the days of the Great Recession still remain. Among the more common suggestions: more use of Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs), higher minimum wages, and basic incomes. Earned Income Tax Credits are by far the most reasonable of these, but they are not able to target many individuals who need them the most. Higher minimum wages unfortunately appear inevitable, in large part because of the structural rigidity of non tradable sectors. As to basic incomes, present day budget realities and relatively "normal" unemployment rates make the latter option even less likely than it would have been in any instance.

One misplaced argument, is further extension of mortgage credit to individuals who would often fare better without the use of credit in the first place. By far the most reactive response (from the left) is a desire to declare existing credit, where problematic, null and void. After this non solution, everyone would of course start the same flawed cycle anew, which is also the problem I have with tight money advocates who inexplicably assume creative destruction is best achieved with mass deflation through monetary policy. Too many individuals are struggling to fulfill the high expectations which their environments consist of. Why is it so difficult to consider adapting environments to the needs of individuals, instead?

Incremental options for living and working are a more rational response, than constantly making life more difficult for all concerned. Simple means for "one step at a time" investment building, make more sense than knee jerk reactions of loan forgiveness or credit extension to those who need means to build a life instead of loan obligations. By investing in local land use options and building components a step at a time from a young age, individuals would enter adulthood, ready to move into a higher gear of economic life with others on an ongoing basis.

However, alternative equilibrium is not easy to contemplate, in part because this appears to suggest that primary equilibrium circumstance are somehow a "failure". If I have given anyone the impression I feel that way, please accept my apologies. After all, it is rational for individuals to build environments which reflect human capacity at its fullest. Just the same, there also needs to be options for those who come up short in their efforts to gain full employment and a meaningful life.

Further, it is important to formalize alternatives for living and working to the greatest degree possible - not just for the sake of accurate measure of wealth, but to make certain such alternatives are not treated with disrespect. When informal economic circumstance are simply left to chance, they eventually detract from the broader gains of progress. By allowing viable economic options for the marginalized, these groups are also less likely to be targeted by those who oppose the ideologies of more prosperous regions of the world.

An important aspect of incremental wealth building, is the hourly compensation which provides a base for eventual income potential. Even though the wage base is minimal, it is intended for the time individuals choose to assist one another in their personal and group endeavor. Part of what makes this wage more substantial than it first appears, is that no one has to wait for the first job of adulthood for the process to start. Instead, mutual time compensation becomes a part of lifetime activities which are shared beyond one's immediate circle of family and friends.

In normal circumstance, individuals don't always have the ability to make business decisions on incremental terms. As a result, cities and towns are often left without services and products which locals would greatly appreciate. Local corporate structure would seek to define local prosperity as the greatest degree of product and services diversity that is possible, on the part of as many participants as possible. This approach would allow for broader marketplace definition, than competing local interests are often comfortable with.

Each participant in local corporate structure would have an optimal level of time and resource investment, which affects both their time and resource commitments. In other words, individuals normally would have the final say as to the level of obligation they choose. With flexible investment options and definitions of doing business, if one discovers they have too much invested in space (purchased square footage) or building components, that need not mean bankruptcy or the need to sell one's business options. Instead, building components and local square footage can be bought and sold to the degree one's services/and or product is in demand, in local conditions.

The alternative option of incremental wealth generation is not a panacea. Many who would seek this opportunity, have already attempted other means of making a life for themselves. It is also said, that one cannot sell dreams to someone who has walked through nightmares. Hence building new realities would take place a step at a time. Once individuals gain confidence that such options are still on the table, this process could eventually generate economic momentum, as well.

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