Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Mid Range Level of Intelligence

Ultimately, that's all this blogger can really claim. In spite of a love of learning that has lasted a lifetime, my capacity for learning via the "proper means" has always been compromised to some extent. Indeed, there's little I've posted about that could even be considered "new". If my arguments appear different, not everyone has incentive to make similar arguments in the same context, i.e. can economics be a great tool even for those with limited resources?

And - such as what many others experience - age related health issues have seemingly arrived "too soon". Am I ever grateful now, for long hours spent outdoors hiking, exploring, gardening and the like, when it was easy to do so! Consequently, I feel for anyone who lives in a low services state and is letting health concerns accumulate while still in the workplace, before "giving in" to ask the assistance of physicians via Medicare. Sometimes I look back and wonder what the "alternate life" would have been, with the college degrees I so wanted in my twenties. Perhaps I'd still be writing Beethoven-inspired classical music...

All personal musings aside, there's a larger question. Does society have room to utilize a mid range level of intelligence in the marketplace? Right now the answer appears as though "no", especially since one of the more important indicators (mortgage credit) is now being denied to average and below average income levels. Today's asymmetrically compensated knowledge use is mostly that of the "best and the brightest", as institutions have slowly adjusted to making do with less in terms of labor force participation.

The problem is that too much knowledge potential, and time value beyond that of the best and the brightest, is now going to waste. The result could be thought of as "plantings" of high skill knowledge gardens, whereas the planting of less capable gardens are mostly denied, since they would not bear "produce" in the same abundance. And when those of average or below intelligence cannot plant their own gardens, they remain in limbo, as to whether they can plan for life as a willing and responsible participant.

Knowledge is today's most important property holding, yet much knowledge application takes place as though existing in a "new state", whereby institutions treat knowledge use as one of many other resource options locally available to the public for production potential. Knowledge use properties are comparable to what land properties once represented for primary production. However, consider two different aspects of the earlier reality, which still apply: land use and rent depend on whether properties are used for resource extraction (flow), or ongoing care and maintenance of resources (stock).

This particularly matters for knowledge use, which is often treated as a form of extended extraction via patents, as opposed to the general maintenance that is possible for long term knowledge use management. As to the difference, David Ricardo explained how he was primarily concerned with property in the "use of its original and indestructible powers". And land, just as knowledge properties and individual time value, varies in quality. Of the need to further develop land, Ricardo wrote:
If all land had the same properties, if it were unlimited in quantity, and uniform in quality, no charge could be made for its use, unless where it possessed peculiar advantages of situation. It is only, then, because land is not unlimited in quantity and uniform in quality, and because, in the progress of population, land of an inferior quality, or less advantageously situated, is called into cultivation, that rent is ever paid for the use of it. When, in the progress of society, land of the second degree of fertility is taken into cultivation, rent immediately commences on that of the first quality, and the amount of that rent will depend on the difference in the quality of these two portions of land.
When land of the third quality is taken into cultivation, rent immediately commences on the second, and is regulated as before by the difference in their productive powers. At the same time, the rent of the first quality will rise, for that must always be above the rent of the second by the difference between the produce which they yield with a given quantity of capital and labor. With every step in the progress of population, which shall oblige a country to have recourse to land of a worse quality, to enable it to raise its supply of food, rent, on all the more fertile land, will rise. 
Once, those with a mid range level of intelligence could seek out the lesser fields which were in fact those of land. So long as working the land was an option, time value existed in relation to the earth's resource potential. Today, however, time use exists primarily in relation to the time use potential of others. Given this important relationship, time use possibilities have been arbitrarily limited, yet no one's time value can be left completely unaccountable without undue loss of freedom. Even though asymmetric compensation can not consider time value as a complete set of aggregate potential, symmetric compensation could still capture the lesser fields of knowledge use. Again, Ricardo:
It is true, that on the best land, the same produce would still be obtained with the same labor as before, but its value would be enhanced in consequence of the diminished returns obtained by those who employed fresh labor and stock on the less fertile land. Notwithstanding, then, that the advantage of fertile over inferior lands are in no case lost, but only transferred from the cultivator, or consumer, to the landlord, yet, since more labor is required on the inferior lands, and since it is from such land only that we are enabled to furnish ourselves with the additional supply of raw produce, the comparable value of that produce will continue permanently from its former level, and make it exchange for more hats, cloth, shoes, etc., etc. in the production of which no such additional quantity of labor is required.
Today's knowledge potential is also today's property potential, which could restore the growth trajectory in a way that no one of sound mind would be able to argue with. Notice how tending the lesser fields would also increase the total output of tradable sector production, as indicated in the last sentence of the above quote.

P.S. And - in the "never say never" category, I would be remiss in this post if I did not also offer the potential of symmetrically compensated mid range level use of intelligence in towns, villages and small cities, as a protection factor.

No comments:

Post a Comment