Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Structural Reform: "Boring" If We Don't Need It!

Granted, this post title doesn't apply in every instance. But why be interested in structural reform for advanced economies, if one wouldn't also expect to benefit in some capacity? After all, the economy is mostly in good shape for the status quo. Given the extended recovery since the Great Recession (in spite of those left behind), most market observers find it difficult to think about potential status quo reforms. And those who remain left behind, still lack a sufficiently broad platform to offer their own suggestions and insights.

Complacency regarding economic outcomes, has once again become commonplace. Alas, structural reforms still seemed reasonable to many, in the early years of the Great Recession. Back then - alongside the professionals - many without economics degrees were also closely monitoring economic developments. Plenty of laypeople once expressed hope, that something constructive might evolve out of all the pain and confusion. But nothing really did. Why should the average person continue to express concern about structural reforms, if economists - whatever their ideological outlook - determined early on that no (real economy) structural changes would be necessary?

During the earlier years of my writing project, I had more opportunities to discuss my work with family members, friends and acquaintances. Today those opportunities don't come around very often. Yet I can understand why many citizens grew weary of an initially hopeful dialogue that finally dissolved in blame and recriminations. Once citizens realized how difficult it would be to take part in a constructive response to the heartache of the Great Recession, many simply returned to the defense of earlier outlooks and societal positions.

Fortunately - for me - the still unresolved economic challenges of our times, never became boring! Why should it matter, that I could also benefit from production reform, given the fact millions of others could benefit as well? If that's "greedy" on our part then so be it. While potential benefits are many, here's the first that invariably comes to mind: If knowledge use systems were already a societal option, precious few individuals would need to go into their later years all alone. People would be able to assist one another in their efforts to remain economically and socially connected, as long as humanly possible.

And those are just benefits that could accrue in the short run. Long term benefits would include a growing ability for populations to fully engage with more knowledge and skill overall, than is now feasible. I like to imagine that in such scenarios, bookstores would once again become popular, in many communities large and small.

Economic matters occupy my mind now, even more than they did when I began sustained work on this project in 2003. That's a real plus, and 2018 should allow me to step up the process on a series of writings that could further assist readers (eventually to be placed in the sidebar) with basic concepts organized so as to be easier to understand. New Years now seem to suggest a "resolution" of honing in more carefully on particular areas. 2016 turned out to be the year to organize the "uncommon" glossary, while 2017 has been a year for sorting material for the initial books of the series.

The most difficult part thus far, has been pulling myself away from online activities for a while, so that more material can be edited and completed. There's so much I want to keep up with online (and the learning process never stops), but there's only so much time in a day. In 2018, I hope to continue posting regularly, but there may be weeks when I can only post once or twice.

With a little luck, the next recession won't set us back unduly, and constructive dialogue might even reemerge. Yet there's much I need to get done before another recession is even a remote possibility. Thanks so much to all my readers - some who have been patient enough to keep up with almost five years of blogging. Here's wishing a Happy New Year to everyone.

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