Monday, May 15, 2017

Become the Change We Want to See

How to do so? Create new means for marketplace choice. After all, people gain the ability to voluntarily move away from negative circumstance, once more promising and productive paths are actually forged. Granted, there's still a place for moral arguments in economic discussions. Nevertheless, moral arguments alone, won't build a stronger society. Sometimes, it does little good to criticize institutions, particularly those which evolved during periods when resource capacity was differently aligned. The world can't be changed, institutions can't be expected to change, just because some groups find them offensive.

Of course, this post is an economic version of "becoming the change we want to see in the world". The main economic institutions we rely on today, originated in historical settings when resource use concentrated on tradable sector output gains, rather than applied human capital gains. It's time to focus on the latter. Once a given equilibrium matures, economic institutional design needs to highlight the resource capacity which remains underdeveloped and underutilized, for this is where new growth is possible.

For instance: Instead of complaining that today's corporations don't meet the needs of citizens, emphasize new corporate design that can do so, via focusing on human capital potential. Since organizational patterns for wealth creation have often been structured to profit from exclusivity and the best skill sets, generate new institutional settings which profit from inclusive participation, and a wider range of skill sets.

And rather than focus on the lack of sustainability for some of the world's primary resources, why not create sustainable patterns for mutual employment, so that the bulk of the world's resource capacity does not have to also support the entire costs of experiential and applied knowledge. If the use of knowledge can be organized so as to directly generate wealth, more of the world's commodities can be used to the extent they are naturally sought for their own benefits.

Instead of decrying the "overuse" of fossil fuels, create settings for living and working in which fossil fuel use is less necessary for these daily functions. Indeed, the primary benefit of fossil fuels for humankind has been an increased ability to explore the world. Yet we still have not designed communities for all income levels, in which the use of fossil fuel infrastructure is primarily intended for the weekends, while walkable communities (campuses for time based services) provide the weekday balance which so many individuals actually need. Why not also create paths dedicated to bicycling, to connect time based service campuses (for all ages) and commercial areas?

It's better to create marketplace options such as these, instead of insisting everyone live and work by the same marketplace conditions. Not only does such insistence translate into unnecessary limits on others, it also means unnecessary limits on our own abilities and aspirations. The best way to maintain prosperity, well into the foreseeable future, is to make certain that marketplace choice has a chance to endure.

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