Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Services Platform, Services Freedom

In a recent post, Diane Coyle explains today's business platforms, and notes they have replaced traditional business pipelines in some instances:
...the basics are well understood: an entity enabling value creating interactions between different groups of people; with the value coming from network effects (across the sides of the platform) and often also the improved matching of transacting parties enabled reduced information/transaction costs.
She continues:
Platforms do not need the same investment in physical capital as a pipeline business and have no idle capacity. The community can even provide the quality control and certification.
What Coyle describes above, would also be similar to the platforms of future local (dual?) corporations and their knowledge use systems. However, the digital format - rather than coordinating activity across cities and regions - would exist as a small scale internal whole, for the provision of local non tradable sector supply and demand. This pattern would arbitrage time and resources to take advantage of existing complexities, but its complete internal structure would allow it to generate more growth overall from the arbitrage pattern, rather than simple redistribution of already existing growth.

Participants would hold producer and consumer roles, so as to coordinate a broad array of services within the platform framework. The most important "inventory" would be time value, and physical aspects of coordination would affect the dynamics and design of local infrastructure. Rather than hierarchical management for group coordination, participants would be responsible for their own time use patterns, alongside digital algorithms which would assist the process through the course of yearly coordination calendars. This digital algorithm is a form of services based direct democracy. The reason it has been difficult to think in these terms is that the arbitrage of time value is too often confused with the arbitrage of other resources.

However, normal (pipeline) business formation would play various roles in these communities. By generating a stable time value framework and asset base, other aspects of tradable sector production become more feasible due to less overhead. For example, such roles would include a mix of formal and informal coordination settings for restaurants, retail, agriculture, and settings designed for travel accommodations between similar communities.

Local tradable sectors would utilize the same money as surrounding economies. Whereas a parallel or internal money allows the new monies of time based service coordination to create local asset generation and infrastructure. By generating new money for services and utilizing it for asset formation, internal taxation becomes unnecessary for non tradable sector activity.

This form of corporation has a number of dual aspects associated with it. An important designation in this regard is the combination what has normally been associated with divisions between public and private time based services activity. Platform simplification combines coordination on the part of all participants, for what has otherwise existed as local government services, schools, hospitals, medical offices, time based retail services, domestic services, ongoing maintenance and more, as a starting point. Again, the local quality control and certification as mentioned above by Diane Coyle, is a factor.

Also important for a services platform, is intentional design to generate the greatest degree of (small scale) personal and group freedom that is possible. Remember, once sets of activities are scaled up in whole form, many time based freedoms are lost to the need to achieve broader spontaneous societal coordination. Without a conscious and intentional design for a small non tradable whole sector, this process would only break down into yet another hierarchical structure.

It would probably take some years to discover an optimal platform size, which would maintain group coordination through the course of a year with full (time matched) employment. Full employment in this respect is that which individuals hope to achieve in the course of a year, with others. Full employment in terms of non tradable time matched activity is non taxable wages. Additional income in the form of tradable sector activity (and the monies associated with external economies) is externally taxable discretionary income.

Most free market interpretations highlight tradable sector production, but not enough attention has been paid to personal freedom for engaging in non tradable sector organizational capacity. As a result, there is little in today's time based services formation, which provides a reasonable degree of freedom for anyone. While free markets are also important for how physical assets and infrastructure are defined, in the rest of this post I'll focus on three needed freedoms in terms of services formation, which particularly stand out.

1) Freedom of choice in the domestic marketplace. People especially need to be careful about getting what they wish for in this regard. How so? Should economic measure (and monetary compensation) be applied to domestic responsibilities in the home - whether by this new corporate structure or perhaps national dictate - it needs to occur so that one's personal time management remains flexible for work other than in one's home at all times. There is considerable loss of economic freedom when an individual is expected to hold a certain set of duties or responsibilities in the home which preclude other options. A quote attributed to Henry David Thoreau sums up the situation well: "The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it." Indeed, this quote serves the idea of a marketplace for time value, quite well.

2) Freedom of choice in an educational marketplace. In other words, freedom to choose one's mentors, assistants and co-learners, so long as participants can find some means to match time value. Many aspects of educational time would not only be self directed, but also take place in ways which do not require entire classroom scenarios. Most important is the need to share practical learning scenarios, for the daily challenges which today individuals are too often expected to figure out on their own. This, alongside original source material which from an early age would reduce the need for today's fiercely fought over school textbooks. Sometimes, just forget textbooks. Source material, or that which is reconsidered by interpreters not associated with educational outcome, is key.

3) Healthcare freedom would allow individuals to reclaim the best of alternative healthcare, and to generate new organizational capacity for the healthcare needs which are most problematic in today's healthcare systems. In many instances, hospitals would be replaced with multiple personalized settings within easy reach of other living and working capacity. In particular, individual entrepreneurial approaches to healthcare can be encouraged.

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