Sunday, April 24, 2016

Some Benefits of Knowledge Use Systems

Chris Dillow asks:
Could it be that the main obstacle to full employment policies is not so much one of technical economics so much as ideology and politics?
Ideology and politics do exacerbate structural problems in the marketplace. For instance, progressives (and sometimes conservatives) inadvertently make it more difficult for individuals to utilize the skills that are necessary for knowledge based work. Just one example in this regard: day care becomes more expensive for all involved, when these service providers are sometimes expected to invest more time and resources for the formal education of math requirements. Just to be able to assist preschoolers. How many four year old children really need to know algebra? Why make life more difficult than it has to be?

On the other hand, when jobs and services face heavy competition, conservatives are more inclined to remove certain groups from the marketplace based on character defects and other "flaws". These efforts are taking some pretty outlandish forms of late. One argument on the part of conservatives is that "losers just don't try hard enough". But when faced with unexpected levels of perseverance from losers, they are also reluctant to back down. In any event, progressive and conservatives both resort to stricter rules and regulations which solidify their prejudices. The results of course include more fragile economic conditions, and more blame to go around.

Another way of stating the problem, fortunately implies a positive response: employment is insufficient in the marketplace, because we don't have enough ways to present our time value to others on economic terms. Too much time investment ends up as barriers to access, rather than means for better access. Knowledge use systems would link education to the work that local groups share in the course of a lifetime, instead of using educational requirements as access barriers. New forms of local corporate structure, would create a marketplace for time value which includes education as part of the same compensated network.

Because of existing budget obligations: as things stand now, the heavy requirements for knowledge based work end up subtracting much of the good along with the bad, when those requirements manifest as cuts in social assistance. How to determine which time based product is of value, and which is not? Budgets only have so much room, for the asymmetric one way street that is non reciprocal economic relationships. Also, the efficacy of time based product can be difficult to decipher, when people lack an arena to voice either their own preferences, or opinions regarding (already received) time based product.

Symmetric compensation and mutual reciprocity between individuals is a two way street, much as earlier forms of production once were. Economic freedom is the result of mutual participants - in this instance service entrepreneurs - having say in defining the service product which works for them. As Jerry Muller wrote about Adam Smith in "The Mind and the Market":
In commercial society based upon exchange, every man becomes in some measure a merchant...The pursuit of self interest in the market, with its division of labor and his resulting dependence on others, leads him to adapt his behavior to the expectations of others. The market itself is therefore a disciplining institution.
However, this argument raises an important question. Why does it seem that fewer individuals are now willing to adapt to the expectations of others? In all likelihood, this is due to the fact too much of the process of exchange has been removed from the level of individual activity. Even though production efficiency was the result for tradable sectors, the process of time based services exchange needs to be returned to individuals, in the form of time based product. Some portion of non tradable sector activity will always need to remain anchored to time value, and a new form of corporate structure makes the process viable.

Best, symmetrically compensated time based product would not have to be paid for twice, but only once in a private institution which supports full employment on monetary terms. And through group coordination - as organized over a continuous time frame - each time match represents a step forward as new wealth. When it is possible to match resource potential for product formation at the outset (through symmetrical time use) specific forms of time value do not have to face the harsh scrutiny so often necessary with asymmetrical compensation.

Even though recent centuries have seen tremendous free market gains in physical forms of product, there have not actually been free markets for time value. Thus far, time value has only been economically accounted for to the degree it is possible for those with discretionary income to hire others, or for governments to redistribute taxation so as to employ others. As a result, knowledge use is mostly limited to what the government or private participants with discretionary income, call for. By far these are the most significant limits of asymmetric compensation. As a method for knowledge dispersal, asymmetric compensation is not only incomplete, but the external approach to skills capacity, means that skill potential in some groups will decrease over time, for the ones which experience less hiring in aggregate.

The local corporate activity of knowledge use systems would support a community's economic efforts by providing a connecting network for them which is not always available, outside of today's institutions. Further, it would be able to do so without depending on already existing wealth, given the fact that time value can be matched as a point of economic origin. In each new community, the knowledge and skill that could be tapped is as varied as the community itself.

Some asymmetries are actually highly desirable for civilization and social formation. Not only does the asymmetry of tradable sector (global) resource capacity make a broad degree of social coordination possible, it leads to organizational patterns that make it possible for nations and states to achieve common goals. However, the problem for hierarchical structure is the fact these patterns can only utilize and compensate a fraction of knowledge use potential. Symmetrical organizational patterns would incorporate more choice in knowledge and skill by making the most of time value. The personal benefit, is that of providing a choice for working on equal terms with others.

One important aspect of knowledge use systems is the need to reformulate work options on terms that - so long as individuals are committed to the process - can provide more than casual and fleeting work options in a changing economy. Even though monetary compensation for time value is not equivalent to that of general equilibrium, it would be equivalent to the forms of resource capacity that can be locally tapped in relation to time value. For those who struggle with the requirements of general equilibrium, the time to resource value of alternative equilibrium, could be a good option.

To sum up: what would new forms of local corporate structure seek to accomplish? Among the suggestions in this post are a thoughtful (i.e. respectable) construction of "small" wage environments, and a full range of economic options (mutual employment) for time value. Indeed, time value also serves as a new point of wealth formation, for communities which otherwise often need a beginning point as a "bedroom" community or tradable sector activity.

No comments:

Post a Comment