Sunday, May 20, 2018

What Makes Theoretical Framing Necessary?

Some of our institutions no longer function as effectively as they once did. Yet clearly, positive institutional change takes time. Small wonder so many citizens have long since grown weary, of thinking about the nature of our economic dilemma. For that matter, economic subjects are no longer a comfortable part of social discourse - especially when theoretical concerns are involved. We know that important disciplines have gone too far down the rabbit hole of specialization and inaccessible language, when citizens can no longer rely on important areas of study for cross discipline problem solving.

Nevertheless, I'm compelled to explain why it would be dangerous, to abandon what little does exist of a theoretical framing for economic discussions outside academia. Even though economists may not need to worry about losing their jobs anytime soon (perhaps why earlier theoretical framing has yet to be reconfigured), there's plenty at stake for the general public in this regard. One would think that since governments are becoming less inclined to take economists seriously, economists might rediscover the importance of reaching out to the general public for mutual problem solving. Ryan Avent's "The Wealth of Humans" (2016), gets to the heart of the matter. In his book intro, he highlighted the institutional dilemma:
And the institutions of work - apart from family, our most important piece of social infrastructure - can no longer be counted on to fulfil its many crucial roles - from the ordering of our days, to the allocation of purchasing power, to the strengthening of the social ties that are nurtured when individuals feel as though they are contributing positively to the community.
Ryan Avent emphasized economic developments in his book which deserve a lot more attention than they have received, thus far. For example, he stressed how it's no longer a simple matter to raise aggregate income capacity for the average individual, in developed nations. Which is why I keep repeating that we need a different wealth creation approach, to improve the value of the aggregate income that we either have or might reasonably expect. Avent also noted that the economic problems of our time are not going to go away any time soon. Which means we can likely expect decades of political and social disruption, before economic stability once again appears as though a realistic societal expectation.

There's an underlying theoretical framework which is a major contributor to these problems. Crucially, many of these issues are no longer solvable from a linear perspective. That said, it's quite difficult to introduce non linear elements to the majority of the conversations we do get to have, with others. One reason we get so much dialogue "retread" in linear territory - even though resurrected policy material no longer functions effectively - is the fact these conversations can be readily understood by both citizens and policy makers. And when economists do understand what's at stake, especially in terms of production potential and long term growth, too few presently share their concerns with the average citizen. What can be done, then, given the shifting tectonic plates of tradable and non tradable sector activity which have completely altered our general equilibrium realities?

Fortunately, it's not necessary for everyone to understand the theoretically cognizant patterns which could contribute to a "Monday morning" approach for mutual employment and long term economic stability. What is necessary, however, is a new institutional framework which addresses on legal terms the shifting nature of monetary flows and sectoral activity, thereby providing new means to live and work for the average individual which would not otherwise be possible.

In the five plus years I've worked on this blog, I've attempted to understand the nature of how such an institution could function. I'd like for this new institution to be referred to as an equilibrium corporation, since it would work to restore monetary equivalence in defined equilibrium environments, but who knows what others might eventually want to call these new economic platforms. A new institution would allow broader rights of production for all citizens to coexist with today's more exclusive skills arbitrage rights of knowledge production, for instance. With a little luck, I may be able to clarify my efforts so they might finally be more broadly understood. Ultimately, that's the goal of the book project, which I still have every intention of contributing to the blog sidebar. Now, it's mostly a matter of taking care of my health as best I can in the years to come, so this work might finally realize completion.

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