Friday, July 28, 2017

Time vs Labour Value: The Differences are Important

If we are to successfully transition to a 21st century economy, a  better understanding of our time value, could contribute of the process. A marketplace for time value, would especially assist those whose time value is otherwise insufficient, to coordinate with others for the time based services that contribute to the fulfillment of one's own goals.

A marketplace for time value could also help fill the void, which results whenever high level skills compensation becomes reduced through automation. One problem with a declining labour force participation rate, is that individuals caught in this process, can lose the ability to meaningfully reciprocate with others. By visualizing time value on more formal economic terms, not only would individuals become better able to preserve their personal agency, but also their ability to contribute to a high(er) level of societal cohesion.

No matter how our employment is defined, good time management has always been essential - not just for our personal aspirations, but also our obligations to others. For some, however, optimal time management gets sidelined, due to the necessities of job schedules which offer little flexibility. Even though time centered service settings mean "sacrifice" in terms of skills compensation, a major positive is that these settings provide means to structure daily routines so as to be conducive to both personal life, and a more spontaneous workplace.

While many (not all) of our time preferences at home revolve around personal consumption choices, the assistance we seek from others beyond these settings, involves production and consumption preferences which we don't want to pose as a burden, to family and friends. As automation continues to reduce the need for labour, people gain the option of seeking new forms of shared time value with other individuals, on mutually sustainable and formal economic terms.

Two aspects of time value in particular stand out, for what they could contribute to future GDP measure: social welfare, and happiness. The practical and experiential nature of time based product is associated with a full range of social welfare. Recently, the purchase of time based product was also associated with gains in happiness. From a study by researchers at the University of British Columbia, which
suggests that using money to buy free time--such as paying to delegate household chores like cleaning and cooking--is linked to greater life satisfaction.
Ashley Whilians adds:
our results suggest that buying time has similar benefits for happiness as having more money.
Nevertheless, when individuals are not well compensated in traditional workplaces, they may have more time on their hands than is actively being sought by others. Hence people who are already inclined to be sociable and agreeable, don't always get the chance to share these attributes. A marketplace for time value, would encourage the inclusion of individuals who are naturally inclined to be supportive and caring. Personality traits such as these can become sidelined (both economically and socially), when employers mostly need labour in the form of highly specialized skills sets.

Consider some settings, in which personal time management, as opposed to specific labour functions, has always been important. The household production which first defined economic settings (centuries earlier) involved mutual coordination and time management. Later, enterprise such as homesteading and small mom and pop businesses, included the time management of small groups. More recently, time management has been a vital aspect of entrepreneurial activity, from business leaders to the daily routines and productive habits of self employed individuals.

What settings would benefit from a broader distribution of mutually defined time management, in the present? The time and place specificity of non tradable sector activity, could ultimately lead to total factor productivity gains with such an approach. A marketplace for time value could make it possible to recreate non tradable sector activity at local levels, where communities now suffer from a lack of economic complexity. Measures such as these may become increasingly important, as it becomes more difficult for centralized governments to maintain services production in rural regions. Indeed, the potential cuts to Medicaid in the U.S. healthcare system - which could lead to the closure of rural hospitals, clinics and nursing homes across the nation - is just one example.

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