Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wrap Up for January 2019

Even a college degree is no longer a guarantee, that one can expect to maintain a career which provides a smooth transition to retirement. "A majority of new retirees in 2014 said they were forced to retire."

Trump as the Dr. Strangelove of financial markets.

Dietz Vollrath looks at the "deep roots" of growth and development. Also, Part 2.

An 80 year low for U.S. population growth.

Recommendations on books for effective altruism, by Will MacAskill

There are lots of new books to look forward to in 2019.

Ricardo Hausmann: Lack of transparency is a problem in most instances, but especially so, when it comes to debt obligations. "Secrecy has a place in government, but not in international public-sector finance."

Fiscal policy is not a reasonable option for the next recession. At least not as a first line of defense.

"Rising Government Debt: Causes and Solutions for a Decades-Old Trend"

Low unemployment is about more than just "strong" or "weak" labour markets. Graphs tell the story.

"Blogsplaining is the use of logic to solve an obvious problem, but without acknowledging the cultural imperatives that make the solution impossible to implement. In other words, blogsplaining is the thankless task of solving a problem no one wants you to solve."

Will the artificial intelligence story unravel this year?

Some MMT perspectives:
One problem for an MMT approach is that it "calls for raising taxes to control inflation when the economy is strong." Here's Brad Delong's recent take on MMT. From AEI, a question and answer post. Scott Sumner also provides an example from history that monetary policy - not fiscal policy - determines the price level: "In 1968 President Johnson raised taxes and balanced the budget, in the hope and expectation this would hold down inflation. Instead, inflation got even worse, as monetary policy was still highly expansionary."

Sumner added: "If MMT proponents are right that fiscal policy determines inflation, it would mean that Congress caused inflation to move towards a 2-percent trend line after 1990. Given what we all  know about the dysfunction on Capital Hill, where no one even pretends they are adjusting the budget deficit to target inflation, how likely does that seem?"

"It's not just a figure of speech to say that life is too short for something."

Tyler Cowen in an article for Cato Unbound, explains the basic premise for Stubborn Attachments.

Patrick Lee Miller explores "Fukuyama's master concept of identity."

When it comes to the measure of GDP, inputs do not always equal productive outputs. While Michael Pettis is concerned about China, this issue is important for any nation's GDP calculations.

Rhetoric still has a place in economic dialogue.

John Kay explores "The Concept of the Corporation"

"manufacturing contributed more to productivity growth than its share of employment and sustained its contribution even as its productivity growth and employment share fell."

How important is economic mentality for how we envision growth?

"To whom does the U.S. government owe money?"

"fixing Social Security as it stands is fairly straightforward."

Edmund Phelps argues for a better understanding of economic dynamism.

"The human capital income of private business owners exceeds top wage income and top public equity income."

"Why hasn't technology improved government effectiveness?"

"Between 1991 and 2017 agricultural employment fell from 43 to 27 per cent of the global workforce."

It turns out the more money we have, the more time stressed we are.

"How machines are affecting people and places"

It's the larger than usual budget deficits during relatively healthy economic periods, which pose an emerging problem.

"U.S. Residential Real Estate Market Peaked in March 2018"

Scott Sumner describes his intellectual journey for some of his major monetary themes.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Good Deflation and the Monetary Human Capital Role

Why does the form of deflation we call "good" (since it translates into more affordable product and more output), not function as the same clear positive, for the economic value of human capital as time based product? After all, if the cost of high skill services could be gradually reduced and made more widely available, much as tradable goods have become, "small" wages would hold more real economic value. Likewise, smaller aggregate wage levels would gradually allow the productive agglomeration costs of real estate to be modified in many areas as well.

There's a problem however, for good deflation in terms of time based service product. Alas: What tends towards cumulative inflation rather than good deflation, is how many individuals meet their ongoing expenses and asset costs as those costs currently exist. Unlike forms of product separate from time (which of course aren't human), time based product costs are attached to our human responsibilities to pay bills on an ongoing basis. While we are appreciative if we can access someone else's time, good deflation for time product may nonetheless feel like the bad deflation which impacts labour value during depressions, if that time value happens to be our own.

Our time is also scarce in relation to most goods. Consequently, in order to meet the human capital costs others posses, many seek to raise their own time value. This sets up a chain reaction, whereby others still need to increase the value of their time, so as to access important forms of time based product. This extensive internal inflation process runs exactly counter, to the good deflation which tradable sector activity has contributed to prosperity in recent centuries.

All this holds, regardless of one's monetary compensation for their time units in the form of labour or skills arbitrage. It certainly matters for the time arbitrage I've suggested as an alternative, which would need to be crafted so as to directly address the internal inflation problem. That's why it would be necessary to define new organizational settings for services, learning patterns, infrastructure, housing and other building components so as to make good deflation for time value a reasonable possibility.

Consider how infrastructure and real estate costs have proven relatively amenable to good deflation in tradable sectors. While limited aspects of tradable sector activity needs locations in areas with high real estate costs, much tradable sector production has far more flexibility and mobility. However, in order to accomplish this, many aspects of organizational capacity are integrated into single sustainable settings which have at least a relative degree of independence from place and geography.

Conversely, too many aspects of high skill services have been excessively place dependent for productive agglomeration, which only contributes to the difficulty of achieving good deflation in non tradable sectors. This coordination problem helps to explain why the high skill work of our most prosperous areas is no longer a simple matching process in terms of employment, given the relative few who now manage wealth in lieu of others. Since non tradable sector high skill knowledge does not scale as does tradable sector activity, it needs a horizontal organizational approach which encourages greater marketplace capacity and productive agglomeration which goes well beyond our most prosperous areas.

A new institution is needed which could place productive agglomeration for non tradable sector knowledge use into a combined organizational framework. In these defined equilibrium settings, individuals would not suffer the extreme losses in purchasing power, that would otherwise accompany good deflation in time based services in a completely open equilibrium. Of course, open equilibrium would still apply for tradable sector activitiy, since most individuals can still access and contribute to the good deflation of tradable sectors. However, the closed non tradable sector equilibrium would make it realistic to pursue good deflation as an important time based services goal.

Valuable though good deflation would be for time based product, there are other reasons to utilize symmetrical time value as a mass produced services commodity. Time arbitrage would allow time based product to function as a basic human capital building block, instead of simply another societal cost which places uncertain demands on the earth's resource capacity. One of the main problems of inflationary time value, is the fact there is no time based services steady state to rely upon, when time value exists solely in a dependent relationship with earth's other resource capacity. By bringing good deflation to time value, we could create a steady state for applied knowledge which allows us to more precisely determine the productivity of our own efforts, in relation to the productivity relationships of our other institutions.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Notes on the Economic Nature of (In)Equality

Even though structural economic contributions to inequality are far from clear, they ultimately hold more importance than moral rationale, due to how they inevitably impact social outcomes at some point. Increasingly in advanced nations, it is the assets and services which are scarce due to their direct links with time and place, which matter most for how inequality continues to play out for most citizens. We need a better understanding how our non tradable sector expectations and demands - especially when exacerbated well beyond necessity - affect the conditions of general equilibrium.

Nevertheless, much more is still being expressed about the purported morality of wealthy individuals or firms than structural contributions to inequality (and regular readers also know I believe structural matters go well beyond taxation and regulation). Recently, for instance, Greg Mankiw wondered, what if the prototypical rich person is actually moral? Taking an opposite tack, Branko Milanovic (for ProMarket) wrote that "Davos elites love to advocate for equality - so long as nothing gets done."

While it is sometimes understandable to focus on immorality in marketplace activity, we need to understand the long term equilibrium ramifications, when economic activity which is naturally scarce (in terms of time and place) dominates activities which could otherwise contribute to scale and marketplace expansion. In particular, as economic activity which also experiences artificial constraints begins to dominate, it greatly affects general equilibrium outcomes. After a certain point in this process, inequality becomes entrenched in ways which are often difficult to overcome.

Presently, there is little understanding how the natural scarcities of non tradable sectors affect existing inequalities. These sectors are disrupting the circles of sustainability which tradable sector activity has brought to society in recent centuries. Thus far, the natural scarcities of place and time are especially problematic for wide income variance among citizens in advanced nations, where non tradable sector activity has already dominated tradable sector activity for decades - especially since the former offers few viable economic options for low income levels. Worse, the central bank policy response thus far, has been to withhold sufficient monetary representation, given the dominance in advanced nations of activity which does not readily scale.

Fortunately, the positive part of the story is of course that tradable sector growth in emerging nations continues to lessen existing inequalities across the globe. Any time that activity dominates in which ability to scale is a major component, the proceeds are readily spread among more citizens and participants. In particular, the capitalist contribution to inequality is not necessarily as strong as some on the left have imagined. In Why Most Things Fail (2005), Paul Ormerod expressed concern there was no theoretical framework in which inequality could be understood. He consequently questioned the relevance of the general equilibrium theory (pages 50 and 51) and added:
the most relevant feature of general equilibrium theory is that it tells us nothing at all about the degree of inequality in a society.
However, Ormerod also noted that capitalism delivered to a far greater degree than Karl Marx would ever have expected. Re Marx's "iron law of wages" theory:
The theory has been refuted empirically. The share of wages in national income is considerable higher than it was a century ago, and the share of profits smaller. Workers have become better off relative to capitalists. Indeed, we can go even further than that, for most workers have become in part capitalists themselves. Pension schemes, for example, receive much of their income from dividends on equities, which are, of course, paid out of the profits generated by companies.
Again, consider how wage gains accrued over the last century. It is fair to say that in many instances, the majority of tradable sector activity has been a great contributor to equality. As more individuals were brought into traditional manufacture, there were more consumers for output, and output expansion also (gradually) translated into higher wages. Non tradable sector activity lacks opportunities to equalize or redistribute income, in part because of its existing scarcity constraints for both time and place based output. Of course this is a global reality, and a recent sentiment from Edmund Phelps applies to advanced nations in particular:
The West is in crisis - and so is economics. Rates of return on investment are meager.
Despite the fact so many of us have become capitalists - at least to some degree - it turns out that investment for human capital functions radically differently, if and when it directly links to economic processes which don't scale. Output which doesn't scale is even more problematic since much of it has been expected to occur in places where real estate experiences its highest costs. All too often, what investment gains there are in these circumstance, lack many of the positive cumulative effects which tradable sector wealth provides. While we can't negate the importance of product which doesn't scale, we still need to start thinking outside the box, re how to capture and preserve for long term gain, the wealth of human capital.

Alas, we can't fully compensate all who want to provide skills arbitrage on monetary terms, once economies become dominated by non tradable sector activity. But we can think differently, how to achieve defined equilibrium gains when general equilibrium has exhausted its primary means of continued economic expansion. It's important to do so, given the fact inequality increasingly means an inability for many to participate in the present demands which non tradable sectors have imposed on general equilibrium settings.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Money Price is Most Relevant for Traditional Scale

If product can readily be duplicated, it is amenable to traditional scale potential, and its monetary price tends to serve as a relatively accurate coordination point. However, if and when a product's essential characteristics are directly related to time units (time based product doesn't scale), the money price may lack coordination potential. How so? Most resources remain part of price systems which regularly adjust to market variations, whatever their current level of use may be. But when the resource of potential labour isn't currently active in the marketplace, a certain amount of aggregate time value is also not being regularly priced, hence negatively impacts mutually held time priorities more than one might expect.

Regular readers are familiar with my suggestions for time as an economic measure or price, for units of time based product which aren't capable of traditional scale. Time arbitrage would allow knowledge and skill to scale in lieu of time, as a useful continuum in circumstance where knowledge and skill may lack sufficient institutional context. Today's skills arbitrage pricing has limited pricing relevance in the open market, since these labour prices don't represent a coordination point for aggregate time value. While time arbitrage would also carry monetary representation (as a general price mass produced commodity), time would function as the price clearing point for the aggregates involved. Even though time arbitrage would not likely impact labour pricing in general equilibrium conditions, it could bring much needed additional time priority value to defined equilibrium settings.

I've reiterated these points in part as a response to a Project Syndicate article from Mariana Mazzucato, "Let's Get Real About Purpose". She questioned why economic activity should be purely a matter of price, and continued:
To get real about purpose, we need to recognize that value is created collectively and build more symbiotic partnerships between public and private institutions and civil society. In doing so, we must address three questions: what value to create, how to evaluate the impact, and how to share the rewards.
Certainly I agree with Mazzucato that value is quite often a collective endeavour, and deserves to be more so. Plus I would also agree with her (in a specific sense) that monetary price is often inadequate for time based product. Nevertheless, I feel her arguments for strengthening "symbiotic partnerships" fall short, for these relationships have long prominently featured in the economic landscape with mixed results. As to creating recognizable value beyond a monetary price, I believe time value is the best approach to bring a new dimension to economic exchange. Indeed, time value as economic measure would also make it simpler for individuals to personally manage for important considerations such as health and happiness.

Economic time value would give us more concrete means to evaluate the impact of what we do. Regarding "how to share the rewards", what's important here, is determining how to make certain that all citizens not only take part in important daily activities which don't scale, but also have production and workplace access to economic activity which does scale. Without such access, we tend to find ourselves limited to demanding more for our skills and knowledge, than many individuals - and governments for that matter - are actually able to support.

To maintain productivity gains in the near future, we will also need a better understanding, how to respond to the fact much of the market is already being given over to product which does not readily scale. Our lack of understanding means this process is occurring at high cost and with low levels of economic participation, for too many citizens. Not only has the percentage of non scale time product been growing in recent decades, it is a major factor in declining total factor productivity and losses in quality of life. We will always need to work with one another in ways that do not readily scale, but we need to do so without the high level of debt and supply side limitation which now accompany this endeavour.

The prices which are functional and integral to our tradable sector activity, will always be important. After all, they are the best indicators where traditional output gains continue to occur. However, if we are to maintain long term growth well into the foreseeable future, we will need to be less dependent on price making from the largess of tradable sector activity, for the many diverse areas of work we engage in that don't readily scale. If we can create real value for our time priorities as economic units, it would ultimately become easier to break our dependency on price inflation and supply side limits as our primary means to create quality time based product.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Commonalities That Matter For (Economic) Community

Often I've suggested mutually held commonalities as a starting point for new community formation. Domestic summits, for instance, might provide means to bring individuals together, to explore the possibilities of building a productive services environment. However, not all social commonalities are necessarily conducive to positive bonding processes. What rationale might individuals actually have, for living and working in close proximity to one another, which could result in mutually beneficial outcomes?

In particular, one doesn't just throw a bunch of people together who aren't wanted elsewhere, as "Johnny" of the blog "Granola Shotgun" noted recently. He rightfully stressed the irrationality of taking groups of homeless people (who aren't wanted in particular neighborhoods or areas), to relocate them en masse elsewhere. Plus: How would anyone imagine that the native residents of the new location, would be okay with these social outcasts now in their backyard?

There needs to be positive rationale, for individuals to make concerted efforts toward progress and join forces in doing so. Such rationale goes well beyond the (albeit) understandable desire to escape unfortunate circumstance. While the above referenced blog discussion centered around the homeless, it could equally apply for other social outcasts such as former prisoners, individuals recovering from addiction, or those seeking to escape domestic violence. Even in the best of circumstance, should relocation occur based on a common negative identity, how could all these individuals be expected to adapt to a permanently close physical proximity to one another? Many probably would be unable to do so. Alas, there needs to be more to life as well, than being granted some version of a tiny house along with a government check.

Instead of attempting to build new communities based on unfortunate commonalities, it makes more sense to envision new startups in which individuals are uniformly hopeful for better and more successful futures. These are also more likely to be the individuals whose level of trust in others has not been completely shattered by previous life experiences. That's not to say that people with low levels of trust don't also deserve a chance to start over, by any means. Only that such individuals would likely need more outside assistance, until they have a chance to rebuild trust and self respect via mutually beneficial working relationships.

Even what may appear as fortunate commonalities or success indicators, isn't necessarily a good starting point for economic community. In order for communities to succeed, they need a diverse range of individuals with a wide range of skill capacity and personal interests. Perhaps one commonality in such a framework, would be a common belief in the idea of success as desirable in group context. Just as it isn't helpful to build anew from a failed identity set as a group starting point, community as social or political identity is hardly a sufficient base to build upon.

The commonalities that matter for economic community, also cut across many lines of common reference. Low income as a common denominator could provide a helpful starting point. After all, adaptation to low wages over time, could mean a greater appreciation of environments which benefit from simpler zoning requirements, cost effective building manufacture and low maintenance ownership potential. The low maintenance factor is particularly important for individuals who - for any reason - might otherwise find themselves undermined by high costs of ownership and/or maintenance requirements. Many social outcasts and others fall into this category, yet simple low maintenance environments could help bring the strength and stamina they do have, to the fore.

People may be good candidates for new communities, who have reason to believe they could thrive in these open ended free market settings. Yet not every new start will succeed, and every apparent failure would have its own story to tell, to those willing to listen. Much also depends on whether participants have the commonality of faith in the potential of their fellow human beings, regardless of one's personal disappointments and setbacks. Those who hold the belief a better future remains possible through combined efforts, may be able to contribute to a new continuum of knowledge based endeavor, based on services productivity. With such hopefulness as a place to begin anew, many other aspects of economic community could eventually follow.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Human Capital Potential as Infinite Growth

Could the economy - given the chance - expand indefinitely? Of course, not everyone imagines continued expansion as a desirable outcome. For that matter, given the recent worldwide economic slowdown, might the possibility of infinite expansion already be lost? Hopefully the recent slowdown will prove to be only temporary.

Nevertheless, we could also envision infinite growth capacity which assumes a somewhat different form. By building directly on the possibilities of the human mind, it's not necessary to "use up" other aspects of earth's resources in order to perpetuate the process. The symmetric alignment of time value would make it possible for of the human mind to be tapped, without having to wait for other aspects of earth's other resource capacity to be utilized first.

Recent progress has taken place in ways which are not always encouraging for the long term potential of human capital. Skills arbitrage in particular, is only a fraction of the human capital potential which exists. Skills arbitrage is asymmetrically compensated, hence dependent on other originating sources of wealth before assuming economic validity. This process often requires extensive use of earth's resources, before the larger potential of human capital can be brought into the equation. Knowledge use as a secondary or dependent economic construct, also means that certain aspects of skills demand takes precedence over personal priorities.

Symmetric compensation for time value, would create a more inclusive form of human capital potential, in which time units form a long term continuum with infinite growth possibilities for knowledge use. However, this growth would be measured somewhat differently, since it derives per capita knowledge and skill use as a more important measure of economic gain than actual changes in income. The advantage to such a setting, is that it would give all human capital potential a chance to take part in formal economic processes.

Consider how this process would provide benefits for the long term growth of non tradable sector activity. Skills arbitrage creates a specific human capital harvest in non tradable sector settings, yet if one were to contrast the relevant human capital to a tradable sector apple harvest, it would become clear that only a small portion of human capital is being measured for total growth capacity and marketplace potential. On the other hand, time arbitrage could encourage the measure of all human capital possibilities, and like the tradable sector apple harvest, measure how all human capital might be made relevant to long term growth potential. By far the most important reason to encourage economic expansion indefinitely, is to pursue the potential of the human mind on the same terms.

Oddly, the efficiency of seeking the best skills in the marketplace, creates its own limits on full human participation. The creation of a economic continuum for time value, could make amends for those limits, by allowing the time value of all individuals to become an active part of indefinite economic expansion. Importantly, this could create a more sustainable form of economic expansion, since time arbitrage would not make the same demands on earth's resources that are often necessary for the asymmetric compensation of knowledge.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Where is the Educational Upside?

A recent post from Bryan Caplan which references his book The Case Against Education: Why the Education System is a Waste of Time and Money, calls to mind a potential twist on the old "markets fail, use markets" argument. "K-12 public education fails. Use K-12 public education!"

Should this juxtaposition seem odd: Where is the structural private sector alternative, to the problems which currently face formal education? Regular readers know how I feel about this matter. Supply side institutions need a chance to meaningfully evolve so as to maintain economic and societal stability. Otherwise, immense quantities of wealth could be lost, should political opponents and populists get the chance to destroy institutions they don't like, despite a lack of institutions which could meaningfully replace them.

Nevertheless, public schooling is caught in an deep conundrum which casts shadows over what it has been able to contribute to a 21st century knowledge based economy. Long before recent voices were raised in protest, some were already questioning the value of present day educational roles. For example: In Gender (1982), Ivan Illich complained how men and women supposedly need "education" as part of growing up, then he continued (page 11):
In traditional societies, they matured without the conditions for growth being perceived as scarce. Now, educational institutions teach them that desirable learning and competence are scarce goods for which men and women must compete. Thus, education turns into the name for learning to live under the assumption of scarcity.
Alas, Illich is right about the scarcity part. In particular, artificially defined skills scarcity led to an incredible transfer of 20th century tradable sector wealth, to professional groups who specialized in time based product. Yet this good fortune could not last forever, and the process is also not well suited for sustainable knowledge use patterns in the 21st century. Already, parts of these non tradable sector supply side activities are being dissembled in the political arena. Nowhere are the results of artificially imposed knowledge scarcity more evident, for instance, than in today's healthcare systems.

Even though formal education doesn't function as well as markets in general, these deep institutional social patterns are nowhere near being superseded by a new reality. If we are to maintain economic stability well into the future (thereby allowing automation to successfully continue reducing labour hours in relation to tradable sector output), nations will need to ask all of their citizens to partake in the world of non tradable sector knowledge.

But we can't extend any such welcome on the earlier terms of wealth capture and non coordinated non tradable sector price making. We can't expand indefinitely, a wealth bonanza that was never intended to serve society as a whole. It's far from easy to think about the implications of this reality, which may partially explain the attitude of those who look forward to less mass production and lower population levels in the future. Ivan Illich also expressed his hope for lower mass production levels, decades earlier in Gender - alongside his desire for permanently reduced economic growth. Hopefully, my readers are well aware, that any heavy structural reductions in economic growth would be anathema to me.

In light of these observations, what about Caplan's essential argument? Even if every "rational" and/or extra bright student were to adopt STEM sensibilities as a way forward, our present system would not be able to miraculously expand its workplace offerings to include every aspiring student on today's generous terms. We have stretched beyond recognition, the boundaries of what originating sources of wealth can be expected to keep redistributing for dependent high skill knowledge sectors. Perhaps some of these harsh realities could help to explain why Lev Novikov, educator and start-up engineer, did not get a substantive response after numerous attempts for open discussion re Caplan's book. As Novikov explained:
The short version is that there was a lot of interest in reading the book, but very little interest in discussing it...The students were extremely reluctant to discuss the book, especially in a group.
Indeed, conversations over the course of the school year, basically came down to two points:
  • I always knew school was wasting my time! Is this why you're trying to teach us to program and build stuff?
  • I can't argue with his points, but I think he's wrong.
Part of the problem is the context of the discussion: Open ended, perhaps, but with few clear alternatives or positive ways to respond. If the argument feels hypothetical, it's also posed as though we should be rid of public education, whether or not trade-offs have been adequately considered. If this weren't enough, economics discussions are normally chock full of trade-offs! What has to be depressing for these kids, is their growing awareness that today's society doesn't really need many of these soon to be high school graduates, in any meaningful context. Young though they may be, many of them can readily discern the doors which are basically closed to them.

Since we continue to inhabit an economy which derives hierarchical services sector dominance from decades of mass production, we don't yet have a true educational upside. But many individuals love to learn. Many individuals also enjoy intellectual challenges and a chance to contribute to society. Let's not leave the impression that it is irrational for the overwhelming majority of humanity to desire a full life, should anyone happen to be born in the "wrong" circumstance. We can open the doors to a more inclusive and meaningful society, which does not require the high costs of today's non tradable sectors. After all, it is the costs of final goods and services in these sectors, which lead to irrational demands for higher wages than many employers are able to pay.

We need to explore possibilities for an educational upside which contributes to better economic outcomes for all concerned. The best way to do so, is to integrate education in all its diversity, with a full range of activities which people perform on a regular basis. Taxpayer expense for public education tends to be beside the point, especially since so much of this takes place via local property taxes. Let's discuss potential structural changes in education, without belittling those who are still trying to make the best of the system which still exists. We can build a new educational framework which illuminates productive responses to present day wants and needs, instead of simply working to undermine a system which in certain respects has largely outlived its usefulness.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Let's Build More Wealth With Less Debt

Why has it become so important for nations to develop more reliable means than debt in order to get things done? Perhaps the idea of building more with less debt, would be a good New Year's resolution for nations in general. Fortunately, it would not be necessary to focus solely on tradable sector activity (mercantilism) to make it happen. No matter the amount of economic dynamism a nation may experience, civilizations can eventually unravel, if and when they excessively rely on debt and its associated redistribution, to take care of the most vital functions of society.

By way of example, one of the bigger dangers to economic sustainability takes place, when debt is structured around the expectation of future income streams which have little - if anything - to do with what an actual debt decision is expected to accomplish. Indeed, revenue gambles such as this can be equally dangerous whether they involve external gambles on human capital at the micro level (future claims on someone's income generation potential), or at the macro level, in the form of claims on a nation's revenue stream which stem from tradable sector activity.

The rationale for debt creation patterns and their subsequent resolution, also helps to explain why economics as a discipline is so closely interwoven with historical outcomes. No nation can really afford to assume that increasing debt load levels don't warrant serious a serious response that takes long term structural stability into consideration. Should a nation eventually stumble in its debt gambles, the failure would also affect long term societal expectations on the part of its citizens, not to mention how they might consequently view the economic possibilities of their future.

Even though cultural attributes may appear more important than economic considerations in certain respects, continued prosperity nonetheless depends on how nations respond to budgetary obligations over time. However, the need to maintain reasonable debt levels should not be confused with a supposed need for austerity. Plus, who exactly is making that call? We have already observed how no sane political party desires to implement austerity during their watch! Hence austerity in many instances is mostly a default point of no return (overall failure), once governments become unable to postpone their growing budgetary burdens any longer.

A major mistake for all concerned, is when nations refuse to seek additional means of economic dynamism in terms of knowledge use and application, without debt. Yet this is increasingly the fragile position in which developed nations are beginning to find themselves. Many a knowledge based NIMBY impulse has been backed by extensive debt and taxation. Every nation needs to create broader societal support and inclusion for knowledge based endeavour, which doesn't require debt or redistribution as its point of origin.

How might we reconsider long term economic sustainability in the near future? For one, we need to carefully evaluate debt's overall role and importance in building and maintenance cycles. How can we structurally sidestep that role? It is becoming increasingly clear that we need new sources of wealth which can be utilized to reduce debt levels throughout economic systems.

Time arbitrage could be one of the best candidates to strengthen a 21st century knowledge based economy for the long run. Symmetrically aligned time value would serve as a reliable building block to get things done, with no additional budgetary burden. Even though our skills aren't symmetrically aligned, all too often when we compensate for skills differences, not only do we exacerbate existing differences in aptitude, further debt is required for the process. Debt has often been the only way to augment our time value, when it falls too short of the time value of others! Plus, when we harden skills differences, people start thinking about debt jubilees all over again. Should time value be used as a building block in accordance with the time we actually posses, the process could ultimately reduce our need as a society, to constantly redistribute revenue in order to further our building and maintenance activities.

Time as wealth would be a partial, but still important shift away from the burden of extensive debt obligations. In contrast with what is normally built in any society, maintenance roles require far more time hours to accomplish successfully. Since symmetric time units can function as a point of wealth origin (time units as resource building hours), building hours could gradually increase in aggregate, in relation to maintenance hours which otherwise require redistribution. Symmetric time functions as immediately canceled debt, and each of us can claim ownership of the result. By allowing time value to function as a valid economic unit - one which positively contributes to GDP - we could make it possible for an incredible amount of maintenance functions to function in a wealth building capacity, and reduce debt obligations as well.