Even though time arbitrage might be considered a "lesser" form of knowledge use in contrast with normal economic patterns, an option such as this is paramount, if aggregate time value is to maintain economic stability over the long term. After all, the long term means ever expanding resource wealth, which gradually "pulls away" from aggregate time value in general equilibrium conditions. Historically, societies have not always compensated well for growing discrepancies between time value and other forms of resource value, to say the least. Bad deflation in these circumstance can perhaps be thought of, as a lot of unhinged bad attitudes.
Fortunately, the alternate equilibrium of knowledge use systems could create additional time value wealth without debt, to address this problem. True, "the poor with always be with us" as noted by Scott Sumner. "Rich" versus "poor" is as relative as relative comes. But the reason such discrepancies matter, has little to do with minor wage inequality among peers, or disappointments in middle class consumer expectations. Rather, inequality is vitally important because of the degree to which GDP has decoupled from median wages, particularly in the last forty years. Sumner emphasized for instance that "Government quality regulations are set based on average living conditions." And yet the fastest growing jobs continue to be those which are often below average in pay.
The wage to GDP decoupling serves as a distinct reminder that while total resource capacity the world over continues apace, aggregate time value is being left behind. Even more important, is the fact median income is only representative of those who presently have economic access. Others who are also expected to "get in (the same general equilibrium) line" for time based services, are scarcely even accounted for, on economic terms! Does anyone really wonder why immigrants - in aggregate time value terms - have become a net loss to any skills subsidized welfare state?
Hence among the reasons time arbitrage could be of benefit, is that knowledge use systems would create broader value for time aggregates as a whole. For instance, greater access for production and consumption of knowledge use, would address the largely hidden wait time in today's knowledge based service sectors. Yesterday's long lines for product in tradable sector markets that weren't free, are today's lines in non tradable sector markets that also aren't free. When populations have little chance to compete for the production of time based services, more queuing is the result, for basic knowledge use functions.
An alternative equilibrium would ultimately shorten the line for time based services product. Participation in a knowledge use system, is equivalent to the entire group purposely "buying a ticket" (via the right to produce) for mutually desired destinations. Time based group coordination is also a form of social insurance, particularly for multiple aspects of healthcare services. Tim Harford explains the process of waiting in line, in a way which aptly expresses the potential of time value when each individual "buys a ticket":
Queue engineers understand that queues can have strange properties...Queues are a terrible, inefficient waste of time. If the resource in question is genuinely limited, then the existence of a queue shows that it is being underpriced.Consider the line for healthcare. Time based product is not underpriced in the same sense one associates with tradable goods. Rather, the physician is undersupplied to a degree that it is next to impossible to calculate the existing price as an accurate signal - in relation to time based resource capacity given potential aggregate demand. For instance, the U.S. has 2.6 doctors per 1,000 people.
In this instance, queues develop because the time based service provider purchased a ticket (i.e. time investment) that is calculated in relation to price potential on the part of complete or worldwide resource representation. Local coordination for time based services is difficult in general equilibrium, because the time aggregates of medium to high income levels are calculated alongside resource use patterns which exist beyond national boundaries. As a result, specific values in terms of long term time investment, are not calculated among the immediate groups of which they supposedly represent. As Harford noted, queues have strange properties, indeed. Again, Tim Harford:
If everyone had to pay to join a queue, the queue itself would be shorter, because some people would decide not to bother. Those who did queue would earn back their entry fee in time saved, while the person selling tickets for the queue would make some cash.Using time value in relation to itself - via production rights - would allow each individual to buy a ticket or an entry fee to the desired destination. In knowledge use systems, individuals would make the decision whether to "stand in line" to wait for currently offered services. Missed opportunities would be noted, in ways that also send time based production/consumption pricing signals within the group.
Not unlike what would occur in a direct democracy, one's time value can become a multi faceted and meaningful vote for the desired product. Note that when time value exists solely in relation to the world resource capacity of general equilibrium, everyone doesn't get the chance to buy a ticket because aggregate time value is not fully represented in general equilibrium conditions. The alternate equilibrium conditions of knowledge use systems - at the very least - would seek to address this at the margin.