Thursday, October 5, 2017

General Equilibrium Capacity: Rising, or Falling?

Might general equilibrium capacity be lost within a relatively short period of time, in the U.S.? Let's hope not, especially if Kevin Warsh is chosen to chair the Fed. And even if we are fortunate enough to gain someone who understands the danger of excessive monetary tightening: Without a level nominal target in place, supply side shocks could still mean more inappropriate responses from central bankers that may negatively impact equilibrium potential.

However, supply shocks are somewhat different, from the real economy effects of tradable and non tradable sector dynamics. While supply side shocks often lead to short term economic effects, the dynamics of sector formation are more likely to contribute to long term effects. And the present organizational structure of non tradable sector activity, includes a crowding out effect which - if not addressed - could eventually lead to equilibrium loss.

General equilibrium capacity can be expected to rise, as has been the case in recent centuries, so long as tradable sector activity continues to expand. Even though much tradable sector activity has moved well beyond its earlier beginnings in today's advanced economies, national income is greatly supplemented through direct investment links with tradable sector capacity around the world.

Nevertheless, the extent of general equilibrium capacity at a national level can be difficult to discern, for much of it is supplemented with the time based product of non tradable sector activity - especially through redistribution and governmental debt structure. A nation's asset formation in particular, can reflect the equilibrium circumstance of multiple nations. Since the Great Recession, general equilibrium capacity in advanced nations has been somewhat reduced, since central bankers shifted nominal income to lower growth trajectories. Even though the process is occurring in slow motion, general equilibrium capacity continues to be reduced in advanced economies.

The growth potential of service based economies can be misleading, since today's time based services lack a resource based point of wealth origin. Fortunately, it is not necessary for entire service structures to be supported via debt and fiscal means which lack the ability to contribute to real economy growth. If rising equilibrium capacity is on the horizon, we need a better approach to aggregate skills potential. In the meantime, our institutions continue to cherry pick from vast quantities of skills potential, in ways that would only deplete general equilibrium dynamics in the long run.

Time value could also become a point of resource and monetary origination, in the form of a recognizable commodity. This process would actually allow time value to function as a locally tradable good, which is why time arbitrage would become a direct contributor to equilibrium capacity. By allowing time based units to function as vessels for the storage and activity of knowledge and skill, advanced nations could gradually regain equilibrium capacity, via the active use of human capital. Indeed, the sooner the process can begin, the better, so we can finally return to the long term growth trajectory which - prior to the Great Recession - was our monetary means for a more inclusive society.

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