Friday, October 25, 2019

Long Term Commitments Need Non Pecuniary Stability

Some non pecuniary settings are more beneficial than others. Regular readers know the ones I believe could prove most helpful: Simpler building and infrastructure choice sets, plus a wide array of services made possible via time value as an economic unit. Often, non pecuniary advantages tend to be random and otherwise ill defined. However, by clearly spelling out such options, defined equilibrium designations would highlight the advantages of real wage stability over elusive nominal wage gains.

During long economic periods when nominal wage growth is lacking for any reason, non pecuniary economic options could prove more valuable than they might first appear. Once costs of living are dramatically reduced, lower income levels can more readily achieve regularity in their daily routines and work patterns. Reliable economic patterns could certainly give these individuals greater courage to assume the risks of long term commitments, so they might lead normal and productive lives.

Only recall that all income levels need reliable economic patterns, before it is realistic to make emotional commitments with others in good faith. Investment potential for lower income levels, can be quite different from what higher income levels expect to assume. Further, even the best of relationships can become derailed, when life/business partners can't find suitable locations where the resources at their disposal are sufficient for building a good life. Why not create more locations which could thrive with minimal revenue requirements, to address the inequalities of our times?

In a dialogue for Project Syndicate "Say More", Harold James touches on educational aspects of cultural fallout due to inequality:
A very important series of books and studies...have shown that in advanced societies, inequality is driven partly by marriage preferences and social bonding among the "elites" who pass on non-pecuniary advantages in education. The logical conclusion is that functioning families should not be a privilege reserved for an educated upper class. That is the path to social collapse.
Let's be careful, before drawing conclusions these problems somehow need to be resolved on pecuniary terms. Once substantial amounts of wealth accrue to the time value of human capital (relative to tradable sector output), it is no longer a simple matter of utilizing money for existing inequalities, or even getting things done communally in general equilibrium settings. Hence the better solution is to increase the value of all human capital, so that more of society's most important work can be done without the monetary expectations which now accrue to upper income levels.

Fortunately, we don't have to access the education, or even the wealth of the elite, in order to live good lives. We can approach learning and human capital investment differently, so that resource capacity is better aligned for all concerned. We can approach physical environment design differently also. These forms of production reform would do much to address the organizational deficiencies of our non tradable sector institutions. There's still time to avoid social collapse. Why not get started while it is still feasible to do so.

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