Friday, December 27, 2013

What's Important - People, Results, or Both?

In the real world of course, the quick answer is people and results. And yet, many people have difficulty approaching dialogue in this way. Results tend to be about rationality instead of emotions, even though both are part of the process. Turns out it's not easy to engage both at the same time, which explains why leaders (for instance) who happen to be adapt at both, turn out to be the most highly valued leaders of all. might this question get answered for Market Monetarism? Or, when we think of optimal action for economic stability, how does one also express this in personal terms?

This morning I found some links that also continue a few thoughts from yesterday's post: a good thing as economic uncertainty is still very much on my mind. This link suggests it's not "just me" as 70 percent in a recent U.S. survey indicated they didn't feel the economy was truly on the way to recovery. Pus, what I refer to as the forgotten rural areas, are where this lack of confidence is most keenly felt. Small wonder, as some people with little choice but to live in rural environs, despair over whether they can keep the car running so as to continue the job an hour away in the city.

If it's tempting to snicker at presidential candidates re their lack of ability to empathize with average voters, sometimes economists have trouble relating to the average citizen as well. How so? For one thing, economists tend to hone in on aspects of the economy, which don't necessarily reflect the average person's ongoing and daily challenges, in community. This is particularly true if the economist sees government or business in general as the only means of positive action, rather than the coordinated actions of individuals. Plus whatever inferences the economist makes, tend to be the ones that are going to gain the most public consideration as well. Unfortunately, that means a lot of second guessing occurs, as to the circumstances people are actually trying to work with to improve their lives.

For instance, Paul Krugman recently complained that "...high unemployment has greatly weakened workers' already weak position in the relationship." i.e. the power relationship between employer and employee. While this scenario might well be observable at times, unfortunately it has little to do with what actually needs to be done in the present. In other words, it gives not a clue how anyone might approach the present dilemma of economic uncertainty.  Of course it never hurts for employers to be more considerate of their employees!  But how does that meaningfully correlate with the fact that far too few of us have workplace participation in the present - especially in areas which have been economically forgotten?

Or sometimes, thought processes that would be conducive to economic progress get lost in translation, because of the limited academic environments where they take place. Indeed, political adherents on the left and right don't always listen to the more important elements of economic discussions. Thus the most important and substantive arguments are often made on the behalf of people who don't understand their significance. An overt political stance in particular, can obstruct the economic reasoning that people need the most. As for those power relationships Krugman is fond of speaking of, my readers already have a sense how I feel about this.

Power relationships exist mostly in our lives to the degree we lack the confidence (or the imagination), to take part in coordinating ongoing patterns for production and consumption. No one gets real economic results by keep seeking out villains and ransacking their village in yet another morality war. Why does anyone think that is the best way to appeal to people and emotion? Instead of looking for the "right villages to burn", why not consider increasing total economic participation instead. That's the way to put jobs back on the agenda.

The fact that we still don't have adequate passageways for knowledge use and services, also holds back the technologies that can support them. This partly accounts for the fact that 3D printing remains a somewhat "iffy" proposition, in terms of what it will be able to do in the next few years. Not so long ago, the news was full of debate in the U.S. as to 3D printing of guns, whilst in Iran (HT Mark Perry, AEI), 3D printing is already being used for medical purposes. Meanwhile, some states here are putting their primary efforts towards getting rid of the burden of Obamacare, with (???) to replace it. Has anyone noticed that some medical people are even having to take second jobs lately because they aren't getting paid on time by the government?

Clearly, there has to be a positive turnaround in local economic formation, before 3D can be utilized where and how it is actually needed - for production and services of all kinds. I will feel we have arrived when recyclables can be used in efficient, low cost and flexible production, for local building components and by all local citizens. No small community will need to be completely dependent on governments, cities or even auto transportation in the future, once it is allowed to utilize knowledge and resources for production needs locally.

Think about these changes on the horizon: with a bit of effort, we could already be preparing for local manufacturing which adapts to specific needs of all kinds. If we can do this, it also means things can change for the better, before millions of people fall away from the ability to participate economically. What's more, we don't know how those changes in local production capacity will affect overall costs for more basic living requirements of all kinds. Still, there are many legal hurdles to be cleared out of the way first.

How to think about the near future in monetary terms? For one thing, I see long term growth potential as a possible beneficiary of good deflation trends. Just the same, nothing realistic has been done to clear the way for them presently. That is why I am so set against a strong taper on the part of the Fed any time soon. Our local communities have to be permitted to take care of themselves in production and services based terms, before the stimulus levels of the present are no longer needed.

Presently, people in power are still acting as though little of significance has to change structurally, in spite of the realities. Or some power holders give structural needs "lip service" as an excuse to do absolutely nothing. By so doing, everyone ends up ignoring the reasons why so much additional stimulus was needed in the first place: to support the kinds of lifestyle expectations which special interests don't want to change now. So to just take away the stimulus because "it's gone on long enough", yet refuse to do anything to change the environments which required those infusions of money, would be like an ostrich putting its head into the sand.

Future generations need living and working environments that are better tailored to their needs. If ignoring that reality isn't enough, attempts to force them to live by the standards of earlier generations only invites more "bubbles" for asset formations. Meanwhile, government debt loads are the inverse of the "bubble" problem, in that they try to cover societal expectations which go well beyond what many family incomes actually represent.

Hopefully, we can find our way to dialogues that include emotional appeals and results oriented action in the same argument. But until we do, it would be most helpful to maintain the environments we presently have, to the best of our ability. That also means printing as much money as necessary, for total spending capacity. Building societies up only to knock them down again when no one agrees on anything, is no solution.

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