Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Economic Time Value is a Logical "Next" Step

One reason it is difficult to address the growing issue of technology driven unemployment, is the fact some of this problem remains in the future - even if that future is no longer in the far distance. Meanwhile, the present backdrop of "apparent" full employment (by traditional measure), encourages many to believe the issue can be safely dismissed for now.

Yet this "do nothing" response is hardly as safe, as it may appear. Perhaps the fact no "Plan B" exists, accounts for why basic income as concept, gets a fair amount of traction, in spite of growing long term budget issues for nations in general. Already a simple example of potential economic fallout in the U.S. is on the horizon: a wide range of drivers could be replaced in coming decades with autonomous or self driving vehicles. If options for widespread continued economic participation are not already in place should this occur, there's a risk that production capacity could be lost, on a scale at least equal to what occurred in the Great Recession, when central bankers neglected to maintain a stable nominal income level.

Whenever technology driven unemployment is debated, it helps to take a long range view, about the societal options which actually exist for product potential in the marketplace. It's not really feasible to think about future work options, if we don't also consider other important characteristics in our environment at the same time. Plus, what we collectively believe to be valuable as marketplace product, directly influences the work options we actually have. Indeed, while educational product as economic access has turned out somewhat dubious; educational product as experiential good, turned out to be a positive result of the 20th century progressive movement. This, even though formal education wasn't exactly promoted in a traditional marketplace context.

Despite the fact excessive secondary market structure now limits the participation template (and growth potential) for developed nations, some of its initial 20th century framing for marketplace expansion, proved to be a positive on a number of levels. The initial useful impact of formal education on wealth creation and employment potential, cannot be dismissed. Might the promotion of a more complete context for economic time value, provide a logical "next step" in this progression?

Ideally, the next step could restore the primary market function as a major component of long term growth, for developed nations. Why does time value - as commodity - hold potential for providing this role? Through the (monetarily) reinforced purchase of time value for time value, everything from time based maintenance activity to research and development activity, would contribute wealth generation from a primary market position.

How was formal education able to contribute to overall growth capacity, from a secondary market position in the 20th century? The advent of extensive formal education for populations as a whole, mean more customers for product which directly benefited from this increased level of knowledge dispersion. Formal education contributed to the mass production of tradable sector product which did not need a direct time based link. In other words: initially, formal education led to additional employment not just in terms of the discipline itself (further provision of education) but served as a multiplier for the kinds of tradable sector product which in turn could consequently be generated in the marketplace.

Nevertheless, secondary markets such as formal education (and healthcare), now face constraints which mean real limits in the template for economic participation which is presently possible. One important aspect of this constraint, is that it contributes to class divisions as well. Even though property zoning is problematic in terms of social and economic exclusion; presently, the "zoning" of knowledge use would continue to divide populations, even if property zoning were to be eased in the near future.

It is difficult to directly observe the dependent role (in terms of wealth creation) for non tradable sector activity as contrast with tradable sector activity, since non tradable sector activity assumes dominance in terms of monetary requirements. However, over the long term, resource capacity for non tradable sector activity also needs to be well organized at internal levels, just as what occurs for tradable sector activity. For time based services of all skill levels, maintaining these vital functions of society may sometimes require decentralized processes - especially when tradable sector activity becomes highly automated and in less need of paid employment.

Otherwise, nations may experience too much difficulty, in their efforts to continue the first mover wealth creation positions which set the possibilities for monetary velocity. By matching time value internally for a wide skill range of knowledge and maintenance functions; resource capacity for time value, would ultimately function as efficiently as has been possible in tradable sector activity.

Economic time value in the marketplace is the next logical step. Initially, in the 20th century, formal education greatly contributed to time value. However, since individuals did not have economic means to purchase the incremental time of others through their own, only a limited number of specific skill sets could be directly rewarded in the marketplace. Consequently, too much human capital investment could not be directly tapped, and went underutilized. Today, as labor force participation declines, people do not have good options outside the marketplace to assist others in ways capable of promoting economic stability.

Even though 20th century education suggested great promise for time value early on, marketplace growth momentum was lost, as the secondary market position of knowledge use drifted towards centralization. In recent decades, centralization of high level skills use, has diminished the platform of economic participation which is possible. A marketplace for time value, could once again expand the template of economic participation, through decentralized settings for productive levels of knowledge use.

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