Sunday, May 7, 2017

Notes on Symmetric and Asymmetric Work

How might differentiation between asymmetric and symmetric work (and its associated compensation) matter, especially in terms of output versus outcomes? For instance: Are services project results (i.e. outcomes) for time based product, recognizable as output? Questions such as these matter in part, because today's services are notoriously difficult to measure, in terms of output and productivity.

I've previously described asymmetrically performed work, as either compensated through discretionary income, profits or governmental redistribution. Fortunately, productivity for hours worked in tradable sectors, is generally easier to measure, since these work hours are recognizable in relation to final product output. Consequently, the asymmetric compensation of hours worked for tradable product, isn't problematic. When technology substitutes for hours worked in tradable sector activity, it is able to do so without reductions in output.

Whereas the asymmetric compensation which contributes to time based services product, isn't as simple. The human capital investments required (formal education, etc.), have too little direct correlation with final product output. Since much of human capital investment (in general equilibrium) is not an internal organizational expense, it can be difficult to recognize, how extensive human capital investment requirements actually hinder forward economic momentum at an aggregate level. Put simply, people have to wait too long, before their extensive commitments - undertaken in hopes of eventual success - gain any economic reinforcement, in any part of their lives.

Knowledge application and preservation could gradually become more difficult, if the relationship of human capital input to aggregate output, remains poorly understood. What's more: When input and output information for human capital are lacking, the technology which supplants work hours can result in lost personal investment, services production, and marketplace output.

If budgetary limitations require technology to substitute for hours worked, how should outcomes versus output be considered? It depends. Does the time based product in question, include important conditional and/or experimental factors? Should either of these conditions matter, technology may contribute to versions of knowledge application which are not sufficiently dynamic, for the stated purpose at hand.

Nevertheless, technology is indispensable to productivity, when output can be maintained or increased via means which only bear indirect correlation with human capital and skill. It's when conditional and experiential factors are important for knowledge use processes, that the use of technology may sometimes detract from marketplace outcomes.

So long as time based product is not well differentiated from other forms of marketplace product, not only does this circumstance present problems for economic measure; but the potential for marketplace losses to technological application, also exists. Whenever time based product could benefit from conditional and experiential factors, more participants need to remain part of economic processes, so as to preserve personal autonomy and choice in the marketplace.

Symmetric work - and its associated compensation patterns - could help to restore a full range of time based product which might otherwise be eventually threatened. Symmetric work would also provide more understandable means to measurable output. Even though time use as a commodity is not quite the same thing as compensated skill, a time continuum in which skill sets can be collectively invested and managed, would provide easy to understand productivity gains, for human capital.

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