Sunday, June 12, 2016

Some Thoughts on Equality of Opportunity

Do people argue for equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome, in "bad faith"? Why would anyone do so? There's no need for me to single out the specific arguments against equality of opportunity as a legitimate concept, which I recently spotted. And after a strong response from a commenter on a post regarding neoliberalism, I'm concerned about coming across as antagonistic, which is not my intent. Suffice to say, I was taken aback, once I realized there are bloggers - and others - who have a strong aversion to "equality of opportunity" as a legitimate argument.

Much as the reality of rich and poor, equality of opportunity is a relative state which still deserves acknowledgement and action. The right to produce goods and services for the public - for example - is a dramatic example of equality of opportunity. Why not strive to make certain that opportunities aren't lost, instead of losing further ground by reasoning they don't exist in the first place? Better odds of success are possible for all concerned, when inequality is approached with the intent of improving economic access.

In other words, plan for opportunity in terms of resource use and access, instead of seeking greater equality through increased redistribution of outcome. This initial or prior approach increases outcome potential and long term growth, whereas an outcome based approach only encourages further divisions over already existing resources. In particular, specific supply side methodology for increased non tradable sector production and consumption, would contribute to long term growth. When most marketplace capacity is defined so as to exclude low income levels from production and consumption, it's understandable that equality of opportunity may not ring true.

Another important consideration for equality of opportunity, is to consider how time and skill contribute to efforts and economic outcomes. Even though it is not widely recognized yet, new horizons are opening for personal time value in terms of production and consumption, which didn't exist before the technological gains of the present. Equality of opportunity is inherent in the process, due to the use of equal time value as a starting point for service product coordination.

Time value has an important role in its own right, as a function of mutual coordination capacity, while skills capacity responds best to resource application. When individuals are responsible for their own time management and resource decision making processes, time value and skills capacity are not limited to a single role, in terms of the wealth that accrues to both individuals and groups. Both organizational capacity, and the alignment of skills potential with resource capacity contribute to economic outcome.

The separate functions of time value and skills capacity in the workplace, are sometimes missed. This is understandable, given the fact that 20th century employment by others often meant applying time and skill along a single path of resource application. In some respects, the employment model which combines personal skill and time value in a single output trajectory, is outdated. Yet it has proven difficult to move past a mindset in which personal time and skill - in relation to specific resource sets - is mostly determined by one's employer.

Generally, when individuals are self employed in some capacity, time and skill options can also be applied along different paths to achieve greater outcome potential. Time arbitrage would assist this time management process, given the fact individuals in groups would hold both entrepreneurial and mutual employment roles. Sometimes the paths of time and skill use would merge, whereas in other instances they would become quite distinct, in terms of output potential and quantification.

Personal skill in relation to resource capacity, particularly defines the output potential of tradable sector activity. Indeed: much of what is now considered "uneven" in terms of economic opportunity, originated when compensation increasingly took into account the degree which one's unique skills capacity was able to contribute to the marketplace output of tradable goods. Skills arbitrage employment roles gradually developed in relation to total resource capacity - not just that of nations, but to some degree of international wealth.

Unfortunately, asymmetric compensation for time based product does not contribute to increased marketplace output in the same way. Even though greater skills capacity resulted in better time based product, it did not increase marketplace output. As a result, even as the marketplace expanded for tradable goods, time based product did not have the chance to achieve the marketplace outcome that populations sought.  This is why asymmetric compensation is not as effective (in terms of macroeconomic outcome) for the time based product of non tradable goods, as for tradable goods.

Time arbitrage could eventually create greater marketplace representation for time based product. There's another opportunity aspect to time based product, as symmetrically matched and compensated. Many forms of knowledge and skill which end up "pushed aside" in a society which devotes many resources to critical knowledge, would once again gain room for fuller expression in society. By assigning equal time value to knowledge use, groups can coordinate for time and skill value in ways that provide more equal opportunity for knowledge diversity as a whole.

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