Thursday, May 5, 2016

Asymmetric Versus Symmetric Compensation

While the good news is that employment for knowledge workers is finally on the rise, another aspect of this development is less certain: the rise of non routine work, after centuries of what was most frequently compensation for routine work. Indeed, the asymmetric compensation that is connected to work as externally reimbursed (publicly and privately), is closely tied to the nature of general equilibrium conditions.

As a result, many who gain work in the near future - at any level of skill - will often do so on non routine terms. Further, it is mostly prosperous regions that will realize full employment levels through these means. Even though areas lacking in economic complexity will still have asymmetrically compensated work, much of this work will only be available for a fraction of the local population. Plus, the emphasis on non routine work in less prosperous areas will not be as substantial, as for larger city based employers which have more incentive to tap technology gains.

Many gains in scale have already been realized, for money in relation to the existing resource capacity of general equilibrium. As a result, further automation to replace labor is a primary remaining means of arbitrage for both public and private institutions. However, what does this development suggest, for cities and regions which sometimes lack the necessary capital, to use automation for routine activities?

Some could benefit from the organizational capacity of symmetric compensation - particularly to generate much needed services and time based product. For that matter, time based service product has scarcely been tapped for the wealth gains it represents at aggregate level of economic activity, due to the fiscal constraints of asymmetric compensation. Time based product also exists in relation to the environment that personal time value helps to create. Arbitrage potential can be generated through local definition and internal coordination of production and consumption patterns. As Dietz Vollrath recently noted:
...aggregate productivity growth depends not only on individual technologies, but crucially on the distribution of workers using those technologies.
Symmetric compensation takes place through equally coordinated time availability. Symmetric compensation can also generate new wealth, since existing time value is matched so as to back other time value. Those who participate in the local corporate structure of knowledge use systems, would also have greater choice as to routine work patterns, before investing further in automation capacity. For instance, it helps to remember that maintenance is still the base for many forms of economic activity. Some of the replication that is needed for maintenance - in particular for educational purposes - benefits from personal and individual attention.

Another benefit of symmetric compensation is the fact it allows greater economic complexity for services formation. Otherwise it can be difficult to generate a wide range of time based activity in many areas, particularly on self sufficient terms. Once the initial hurdles of skills variance are accounted for, groups become able to set up and organize self sufficient services activity which would otherwise require either extensive assistance from state and national revenue, or private wealth sources.

Matched time value is not just employment for employment's sake. Unlike externally defined employment options, individuals would take part in an ongoing process of mutual employment, which allows them to determine the kinds of activities they can best accomplish on their own, versus those which they particularly gain from sharing with others. Once the organizational capacity of symmetric compensation is better understood, no one would need to fear the decimation of the workplace by automation.

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