Saturday, June 11, 2016

Further Rationale for Domestic Summits

Several recent posts from Arnold Kling, reminded me of issues that are pertinent to the kinds of organizational capacity which domestic summits would also address. Regular readers may remember earlier posts on my part, which discussed domestic summits as a way to begin the process of creating new communities. A commenter asked Arnold Kling:
If we are over-educating our workforce, then why don't entrepreneurs find and train non-college workers at lower lifetime salaries?
Kling replies:
Very good question. Equivalently, why don't non-college workers try to convince entrepreneurs that they can do the same work for lower pay? 
Of course one needs understandable settings among a wide variety of groups, in which it is possible to do so! My first thought upon reading his response, is that lower pay as a logical move, would involve a restructuring of organizational marketplace costs as well, for both living and working. Otherwise, those with lower pay would continue to struggle with the oft ill defined consumption expectations of general equilibrium. Hence taking this into account is what I have referred to as an alternative equilibrium response, to the normal costs associated with general equilibrium conditions.

While reductions in business overhead are important, simpler forms of business structure would allow all summit participants - even those who may not consider themselves particularly entrepreneurial - to create new community and participate in marketplace outcome. Most important is the fact many such beginnings would result in positive and long lasting effects.

Among the many retail possibilities, are updated variations on pushcart vending such as market monetarist Benjamin Cole has proposed, and he explains their benefits to a commenter in a recent post at Historinhas. Even though higher income levels have often sorted for business patterns that negate pushcart vendor related options, other income levels would welcome flexible retail in new marketplace design. Retail production choices are especially becoming more important, as big box retail finds little incentive for either building or remaining in communities without high income levels.

A framework which makes greater use of lower wage and income potential, would allow infrastructure and environmental factors to move closer to the resource capacity of each group. As participants determine what is possible in this regard, follow up summit gatherings would allow those who ultimately commit, to select among the marketplace constructs which new groups wish to pursue. These resultant settings could be thought of as free market innovation zones. In these zones, what would otherwise be labeled "disruptive" (i.e. undesirable) innovation, can take place without posing direct threat to the general equilibrium conditions of prosperous regions. Domestic summits would serve as a starting point, for the selection process of more unique settings than today's standard zoning and regulatory environments allow.

There's another aspect of the resulting selection processes among potential groupings which deserves consideration. Sometimes, what appears as though discrimination, is simply the desire of individuals to work and live in groups that are similar. Years earlier, working with others who had experienced a lot of discrimination in their lives, I remember being astonished when they nonetheless expressed a preference for much of their time to be spent with others who could relate to life experiences held in common. Often, this was a matter of race preference as well.

However, these natural grouping tendencies are often confused with discriminatory activity in the marketplace. Part of the problem is that too many groups end up competing in an economic arena which lacks sufficient production and consumption space for all involved. The domestic summit response is for self selecting groups to create more marketplace and economic access for everyone, instead of encouraging anti-discrimination processes which are mostly a battle over the already existing pie of general equilibrium. Some aspects of direct democracy would be within reach (for time value in particular) in small group settings, because the results are not those which millions of individuals are expected to comply with.

All who take part in domestic summit proceedings would need to approach them with an open mind, to create a positive experience capable of long term potential applicability. It would be difficult for anyone with a negative attitude regarding "opposing" lifestyle options in general, to add value for a particular marketplace option among many possibilities. Domestic summits would strive to multiply social capital, instead of continuing with today's political efforts to closely restrict anything possible in this regard. Again, from Arnold Kling: possibility I want to throw out there is that people want affluent neighbors...high prices is going to make me want to live there.
Few individuals with a substantial income would feel otherwise, given the unfortunate lack of trust that has become a feature of the U.S. landscape. In the thoughtful comments that followed, some noted that the only remaining forms of discrimination that are still possible, are those of price and meritocracy. Prices have been unnecessarily bid up because too few other possibilities exist for the natural forms of association that people seek. Even though discrimination certainly has negative implications, one's desire to sort for lifestyle preference is not the same thing.

Anti-discrimination policies sought to provide economic access in an arbitrarily limited marketplace. However, a better approach would have been to create sufficient marketplace space which provided production and consumption potential for all concerned. This is also an important reason greater flexibility in property ownership is needed, so that mutually held real estate can also be coordinated for changing preferences in working and living arrangements. Today, most neighbors live next door to one another not because of any personal preference, but because of the limited pathways which today's property ownership makes possible.

Over the decades, I've observed alternative production/consumption options that were lost because they posed too great a threat to the existing order. The seventies in particular, were a time of great hope for both infrastructural and healthcare options which for the most part did not see the light of day. Now, today's struggle with food trucks and digital platform transportation feels reminiscent, as these options also pose a direct threat to existing general equilibrium conditions.

What's more, the political arena doesn't acknowledge that special interests and government alike continue to put sand in the gears, of what otherwise would be greater choice and innovation in the marketplace. Instead, political parties react to the existing order in ways that could undermine both economic and political stability. Domestic summits would provide means for individuals to present alternatives that don't pose a direct threat to the status quo. There is no reason, why any society should have to live by the same set of economic rules, regardless of income. Still, creating new patterns for life and work is best approached with a live and let live perspective, for the best possible outcome.

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