Like many, I'm not particularly fond of this state of affairs. Nevertheless, wishful thinking is not going to change the fact that freedom of choice for producers and consumers alike, was never really a valid position in the construction of our services based safety net. It's time to think outside the box, for the entire supply side structure of time based services. Many would be relieved (except possibly the most adamant knowledge use NIMBY factions), if time based services and their related product, could be rebuilt via new, non confrontational means.
A better social safety net is possible, on terms not only capable of expanding wealth, but decreasing the extensive debt loads held by today's governments. A market facing safety net, which gradually builds up from the time value of each individual, could restore long term growth and civility alike. Presently, what stands in the way of progress, is the fact some of most important elements of our time based safety net, are held between our governments and the elite. How is it possible for citizens to take part in these vitally important social interactions, given this set of circumstance?
Consider how free trade has reversed in some important respects, as its most beneficial features were created once locally, and had to be encouraged both nationally and internationally. Today, it is just the opposite, for there is precious little free trade in many of our own communities. In "Adam Smith: In His Time And Ours", Jerry Z. Muller writes:
Compared to the classical philosophers or even the early modern humanists, Smith was less concerned with the welfare of the social and political elite, than with the welfare - both material and moral - of the vast majority of society. He believed that the proper yardstick of the material wealth of the nation is not the government's economic resources or the wealth of its elites, but the purchasing power of the nation's consumers. Commercial society, he believed, made it possible for the mass of the populace to escape the demeaning relations of dependence characteristic of the past.When governments and special interests hold the most important keys to wealth creation, citizens once again become helpless dependents, as they lose their ability to remain socially and economically viable. Before authoritarian governments become an entrenched part of the landscape, and all civility is lost, we need to reclaim the ability to build better markets for safety nets, lest more economic freedoms are lost. Otherwise, citizens and the media will continue to either fight or belittle one another, alongside politicians and members of our own extended families.
We can't afford to lose faith in the civility of the commercial society, which Adam Smith promoted so extensively. Just as the communities of his time came together in the trade of goods, the communities of our time now need to come together, via the trade of services. The free markets which improved the lives of so many, could readily be adapted to our own knowledge use potential, for time based service creation. Without the wealth creating option of more extensive knowledge use, the thuggery that is such a part of the daily news, could become more prominent than ever.