Thursday, July 23, 2015

People Are The Heart of Economic Life

If people are central to economic life, why has it become so difficult to think about the economy on these terms? Even though many suspect problems down the road - should too few remain employed as technology increases - few have dealt with this issue head on. It's important to realize that ensuring full employment does not create a "planned" economy. Instead, a steady focus on new organizational capacity, would ensure that people have voluntary means to interact with one another which are formally embedded in both social and economic structure.

Many on the left believe that governments define economic circumstance, hence should be responsible for any economic matters deemed most important. But governments can't take the place of the social coordination which sustains a civil society. In today's marketplace this coordination is incomplete, and too few on the right have noticed. Others on the right have grown less concerned about the economy, in relation to family and what they consider more important matters. But when economies don't have the chance to remain strong, families and cultures also struggle to stay afloat.

Regular readers know that I believe the marketplace needs a bit more help from people from all walks of life. Not just in the U.S. but also other nations, as central bankers continue to wind down the growth levels which were associated with the twentieth century. Are potential solutions too "boring"? Why don't domestic summits have the same panache as other kinds of summits? If given the chance, they might actually yield a greater benefit than often materializes from international summits. Yet how many nations have heeded the call to seek domestic vitality, in order to generate more positive monetary policy?

Time value in relation to other forms of resources, is the reason that economics matters. And yet the time value of the individual, is the central component which has been most neglected. How might one think about time value in broad terms? A few years earlier I touched on five stages of economic activity which seemed to apply regardless of other resource capacity, and it seems useful to consider them again, here.

These five categories provide ways to think about economic activity in both broad societal terms, as well as those of the individual. Not only do they provide a framework for decision and management process regarding divisions of labor, they serve as ways to think about time management as one transitions through different phases of life.

                   Maintenance - Building - Creating - Understanding - Healing

Think how coordinated activity evolved, prior to extensive monetary use. One can think of maintenance activity as the human element which transcends instinct, in terms of preserving what has already been formulated by the mind. Maintenance ensures that the gains of building and creating become embedded in society. As such, maintenance forms a pyramidal base for economic activity in general.

Even though building (of new elements) and creating (design) regularly come into play, they are not needed constantly, because much of daily activity continues to proceed from the reenactment and preservation of earlier efforts. Hence building, creating and understanding are layered on top of maintenance structure, and healing forms the pinnacle. However, it is important to remember that this is not the healing of the human body (which resides alongside all forms of teaching in the maintenance structure) but the healing across disciplines which preserves what lies below.

While building and creating are considered primary for today's forms of wealth formation, they are not needed to the degree that maintenance is needed, and yet they have been expected to fund all of maintenance capacity. This is why maintenance tends to break down over time. Consequently, the vital activities of maintenance need to be approached directly, so that they can also be capable of wealth creation on their own.

Otherwise, what looks to be a highly stable pyramid formation, develops holes at the base of the structure, when it proves too difficult for building and creating elements to regularly contribute to the base of the structure. The pyramidal structure is endangered now, because healing and understanding elements have already been fragmented. As the process continues, a breakdown can ensue in the building and creating components, which further extends to the base.

By tapping into personal time value, new wealth can be generated from the bottom of the pyramid, so that building elements do not have to carry the load for both wealth formation and maintenance capacity. The base is made up of every kind of knowledge use imaginable. Yet the services capacity which lies here is strangely unrecognized, for the distinctly human quality it holds. When one considers the immense importance of the maintenance base of the pyramid, the mistake of discounting services finally becomes evident. Far too much of maintenance was written off as governmental instead of personal responsibility, even as it became impossible for governments to maintain the vital processes of knowledge use and preservation.

This is why time arbitrage is needed, in order to preserve what has become so valuable in recent centuries. Technology provides elements of maintenance alongside building capacity, but technology cannot be expected to substitute for the vital work of the mind. Equal time use capacity would make multiple forms of knowledge use sustainable, at the base of the pyramid. People are the heart of economic life. It's time to recognize the role that every individual has to play in the maintenance functions of society, so that everyone can also reach for the other roles which personally matter most in the course of a lifetime, as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment