Thursday, June 2, 2016

Tending the Lesser Fields

Part of what made commodities so accessible to populations in recent centuries, was a level of marketplace commitment in developed nations that benefited producers and consumers alike. How did tradable sector production affect wages, stock and profit? In "The Wealth of Nations", Adam Smith wrote:
The rise and fall in the profits of stock depend on the same causes with the rise and fall in the wages of labor, the increasing or declining state of the wealth of the society; but those causes affect the one and the other very differently. 
The increase of stock, which raises wages, tends to lower profit. When the stocks of many rich merchants are turned into the same trade, their mutual competition naturally tends to lower its profit; and when there is a like increase of all the stock in all the different trades carried on in the same society, the same competition must produce the same effect in them all.
This all inclusive form of free competition also contributes to good deflation, over time. However, more recent forms of production have been approached differently, with negative results for both marketplace output and nominal income. In many instances, the merchants of knowledge created harsh production limits, much as guilds were once able to limit tradable sector production.

Good deflation (on the part of earlier maturing equilibrium conditions) included the "lesser fields", or a (relatively) smaller profit yielding potential. Adam Smith stressed how the profits of the best fields also provide the impetus of quick growth in newly emerging economies. Of a gradually maturing equilibrium, he explained:
As the colony increases, the profits of stock gradually diminish. When the most fertile and best situated lands have all been occupied, less profit can be made by the cultivation of what is inferior both in soil and situation, and less interest can be afforded for the stock which is so employed...As riches, improvement, and population, have increased, interest has declined. The wages of labor do not sink with the profits of stock. The demand for labor increases with the increase of stock, whatever be its profits; and after these are diminished, stock may not only continue to decrease, but to increase much faster than before. It is with industrious nations, who are advancing in the acquisition of riches, as with industrious individuals. A great stock, though with small profits, generally increases faster than a small stock with great profits.
Non tradable sector production has gradually changed the marketplace conditions that Smith described. In today's mature equilibrium, stock conditions for non tradable sector product are threatened, even as their profit continues apace. Today, the "lesser fields" of the marginalized can neither contribute or bear full responsibility, for marketplace supply or demand. As production has shifted towards less employment, the trajectory of labor has gradually drifted away from that of profit. And unlike the quantifiable stock of tradable sector goods, quantification for the marketplace output in terms of knowledge use, is increasingly in doubt.

Unlike the lesser fields which contributed to the tradable sector era, the lesser fields of non tradable sector primacy were purposely left out, due to their diluting effects on profits. Few employers have been particularly interested in the profit potential of the lesser fields. Further, in an era of time and knowledge based product, lesser fields are real human beings, along with the potential of their time aggregates in complete context.

When the actual fields of yesterday's economies were allowed to lie fallow, those fields gained the opportunity to regenerate, and eventually result in greater profit. Not so with people. When people are left to "lie fallow" - when they miss their timely roles in the selection processes of life - they tend to become like a barren wasteland of lost potential. When people have little opportunity to tend to the wants and needs of others, it becomes difficult to tend to their own. Among the mistakes of our era, is an erroneous assumption that human progress and prosperity can somehow continue, without the tending of lesser fields.

If the fortunate could walk for any length of time in the shoes of the neglected, they would discover that days, weeks and months may go by that few others speak to these individuals, look them in the eyes or otherwise show respect. Fortunately, there's an exception: People who are actually paid to do so. And often, the ones who are compensated for treating the marginalized much as anyone else, usually aren't really paid a lot to do so. It's not a bad thing to receive a small wage. What's bad is the complete refusal on the part of all concerned, to encourage a marketplace that responds to the small wages employers can actually pay.

Non tradable sector good deflation isn't the only issue, of course. What's really at stake is that a better world is possible, just by compensating people for helping one another. A marketplace for time value, would provide the chance once again, to tend the lesser fields.

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