Monday, August 14, 2017

Economics as Means to Confront Isolation

One of the main reasons I continue to promote a marketplace for time value, is to confront the social isolation which results from the restricted marketplace patterns of today's developed nations. And "solutions" such as basic income, would only add to the isolation that already exists, essentially, by paying people to give up on real societal participation - in some instances for the full duration of their lives. It's difficult for me to see how families or individuals with no economic connections, could even appreciate a guaranteed income "consolation prize". "Give it up" money mostly serves as a reminder that what one seeks to contribute to the world, is supposedly not necessary, now or ever.

Imagine how much better it would be, to monetarily compensate individuals for helping one another, and do so with our full societal blessing. What if the youth who live in areas with limited economic opportunity, could generate new wealth via the time they exchange for assisting peers and neighbors with life's daily challenges? Is this not better than standing on a street corner, selling drugs? Would it not be better than an economically imposed isolation which breeds hate, fear, violence, and resignation?

Somehow, if people were raised in a mutual assistance culture, the ever present drive by shootings that I hear about on the daily news, would surely diminish. Last night, an older gentleman only a few years younger than myself, lost his life to crossfire in the street, when all he was doing was sitting in his garage, talking with a friend. It's difficult to imagine that with a culture which considers mutual assistance as genuine wealth, how anyone would instead find need to turn to divisive identity groups, gangs and identity politics.

For centuries, people didn't need the formal economic interaction of compensated time based services. After all, there were numerous means by which to coordinate resource use patterns, which ensured that people would come together to get things done. Only as earlier coordination patterns give way to automation and technology, are we faced with the reality of a society which is quickly forgetting how to work, negotiate and reciprocate for mutual wants and desires. No dialogue regarding the future is complete, if it doesn't include a profound determination to reduce the growing isolation of our era.

Even though some still dismiss isolation as a first world problem, it's well past time to quit doing so. No one can afford to ignore that the domestic integrity of developed nations is slowly unraveling. We can overcome isolation by recognizing why free markets were such a civilizing factor in the first place. Free markets allowed people to discover commonly held interests, mutual trust, and lifelong opportunities. The non tradable sectors which have intentionally denied people similar free market options such as these, are proving to be a slow motion train wreck.

Let's don't allow the centuries long free market gains of our tradable sectors, to slip away. Let's not retreat into anti-growth dogma and the exclusionary visions of tribal identity politics. We can overcome all this craziness. Together, we can rebuild a stronger economy, one fully capable of overcoming hate and isolation.

From the America I still remember:
This is For All The Lonely People

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