Without a doubt, it must have lingered in the minds of some readers after my most recent post: "The Question"...that is, How? Sure, it's nice to think about making our constructive time use primary in monetary terms, whether or not it is recognized as such in present day institutional settings. Unfortunately, we live in a world which continues to demand more of us as consumers and yet - in the aggregate - attempts to reduce our role as producers (of anything), at the same time.
Turning that scenario around will take some thought, to say the least. We need to try though, because as a general rule: when too many of us reach a point where we don't actually produce anything, we're not inclined to be very nice to one another! Too many people are ready to pull their hair out over the fact that the human factor is missing from a lot of monetary equations.
Even as we contemplate the kinds of services others could benefit from, such offerings still need to really count for all involved. So it is worth stumbling about in the dark for a while - if need be - in the attempt to find those possibilities. In the same way that no one really knew which products would take off in the twentieth century, no one knows what services will be called for in the 21st, and we all need to take our turn at services entrepreneurship. The fact that people are fickle and ever changing about the products they go for, only tells us the sky is the limit in terms of what we would seek to provide and learn for ourselves along the way.
Still, the short answer to "How?" is that it's going to take time to remedy the problem of inadequate economic participation. Even now, some who previously backed nominal targeting - for instance - have since become convinced that liquidity traps are real and there is little more that can be done. Waiting for "economic winter" to blow over is not just impractical. It is also foolish to just "wait things out", when doing nothing has the potential to make matters even worse. Many policymakers see the present trajectory of unemployment and remain unconvinced that it can be substantially improved. Much of what we consider vital in the realm of work - and economic life in general - needs to be kept front and center in the years ahead.
In order to climb out of the collective stalemate that is the present, we also need to reassess the asset structures we utilize to create monetary flows for knowledge and skills use. It helps to remember that intent and purpose not only come before structure, but they also serve to maintain the structures that we create. We have to know what we want to accomplish in the world around us, before the rationale and ability to maintain what we already have is truly possible. No resource is truly a resource, or for that matter can remain so, until the mind and imagination remain ready to make that happen.
No society has the luxury to just rest on its laurels. When people forget the purpose for what they build, sometimes the purpose is lost. The benefits of past asset and wealth formations are not enough to sustain the patterns now necessary to maintain even the most basic of societal functions. Increasingly, the assets that are able to keep their value are those which remain close to areas of high knowledge use. If such vital knowledge use is not made available to more Main Streets in the years ahead, many asset formations remain in danger of greater instability.
Knowledge use and asset formation are simultaneously occurring structures which need one another, and neither will readily adapt to the separations and limitations people seek to impose on them now. Even though there is little about economic expectations which people presently agree on, that's no reason for anyone to feel smug about asserting it is irrational for us to expect continued progress. While yes, there could possibly be an element of truth in such an assertion - just the same - that's nothing to feel proud about. Let's prove it wrong.