Sunday, April 3, 2016

Part Time Specialization as Growth Strategy

Part of the rationale for new local corporate structure, would be to promote knowledge specialization as it now occurs, but in the smaller population densities which struggle to remain a part of surrounding complex economies. How so? By transforming single sets of specialized responsibility, into more diverse sets for local adaptation. As part of the process, individuals would also share more normal maintenance routines, so that participants need not be strictly relegated to routine tasks on a continuous basis. Closer proximity for shared activities during the course of the day, would make these changes possible.

More flexible specialization would generate greater economic complexity than has been possible thus far, both for regions "left behind" and for areas which were never sufficiently economically complex to begin with. Indeed, historical examples abound, when knowledge use capacity did not require the population densities that began to appear as though necessary for knowledge use in the twentieth century. Previously, the most talented and accomplished individuals often worked in multiple disciplines - some of which included the standard maintenance which became associated with class divisions in the twentieth century.

Why is part time specialization needed, for greater knowledge use dispersal? Today's more prosperous regions have limited ability to generate broader marketplace capacity, for knowledge use on asymmetric terms. This is also reflected in the reluctance of the most prosperous cities, to provide greater economic inclusion than what already exists.

Because asymmetric compensation must rely on preexisting wealth to generate further economic complexity, there is only so much room for new participants, as worldwide growth begins to slow. Knowledge use systems would not only make it possible to preserve vital knowledge use, but also provide much needed growth for those who continue to invest in time value, and hope for economic inclusion. Even better, these systems can do so on the symmetric terms which are capable of generating new wealth.

Knowledge use systems would allow specialization without the necessity of full time employment - either of a specific specialty or for multiple time arbitrage options. Consider the Keynes conundrum for instance, in present day general equilibrium terms. Why hasn't economic progress lowered working hours and increased leisure? Tyler Cowen recently gave an interesting lecture about this topic, and noted that many individuals simply prefer to work full time. But there is also another factor. In spite of the gains of tradable sectors, many now recognize that the requirements of today's non tradable sectors don't always make it easy to work part time. Not only do today's rich work more, they also spend more, in keeping with the substitution effect.

There is also a spatial component to general equilibrium settings, which encourages the substitution effect. Today's primary forms of transportation allowed large populations to coordinate specialized time value over broader distances and higher population densities. An important reason why knowledge workers have not been able to coordinate time based services in lower population densities, is the fact they don't have sufficient local customers to do so, full time. This can be problematic, given the fact that full time work in specialty fields may be necessary to meet one's financial commitments for educational investment.

By integrating education (for knowledge based services) with local coordinated work structure, individuals would not have the educational burdens which normally require full time work in given specialties. Alternative equilibrium settings would mean shared compensation, for mutual learning settings.

Part time specialization in smaller population densities and at closer quarters, would make it easier for individuals to more closely adhere to their natural rhythms for work preferences during the course of the day. Whereas eight hour days (for a specific task) are logical when transportation is a major issue, close quarters for work diversity makes it possible to shift responsibilities more often.

Even though economies of scale in the twentieth century often meant losing local work in tradable sectors, these losses should no longer be necessary for knowledge use product. The time based knowledge product that people have to gain, is exactly what they are willing to create. Hopefully, the 21st century will be noted for the fact that more individuals gain the chance, to become a part of the process of wealth creation.

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