10mth

Ekronomics 101

The essential notion of ekronomics is that time is much more important than money and needs to be analyzed carefully. Focusing on working time, there are three basic kinds: (1) essential time to produce (and sustain) the goods and services we need to survive, (2) investment time that improves the productivity (equals reducing the required amount of essential time), and (3) recreational time, which actually includes both the production and consumption of recreational goods and services such as music, novels, and movies. That's not to say the division is always easy, but I think that's where we need to start. An obvious example of a complexity is education. A certain amount of education is essential to sustain any society, but the rest of it has to be divided between investment and recreation time, and that's going to take some thought.

One application involves comparing national development. In a developed country (where almost all of the members of Ello live) the productivity is high and the amount of time is low. Based on productivity figures that I've read and the demographic categories of the working population, I estimate that the value is on the order of 2 hours per week, averaged over the entire population. Remember that some people spend all of their working time in the essential work while other people are not doing any of it, but just buying what they need based on other work they are doing. In contrast, in a less developed society, almost everyone may be working 40 hours per work just to grow the food, while in the least developed societies (such as hunter-gatherer tribes or failed states) people may spend all of their time just struggling to survive. Looking at the future trend of national development from an ekronomic perspective, it is the balance between the other two categories that is crucial. If two countries start at the same level, but one country guides more time into investment while the other allows more time to be spent on recreation, then the first country is pretty sure to wind up more productive. Perhaps Singapore is an interesting example of this approach?

Another application involves determining proper and appropriate salary levels. From an ekronomic perspective, it is reasonable to try to evaluate jobs in terms of the amount of time people want to spend on them. I haven't yet been able to find much hard data in this area, but the research approach is obvious. You would ask a large number of people who have worked in different areas how they feel about the two kinds of jobs. A simple example question would be "How many hours of typing would you prefer instead of 1 hour of collecting garbage?" Of course the results will vary widely from person to person, but the averages will give a reasonable indicator of the desirability of different types of work and what the proper salary differentials ought to be, though you have to adjust for other factors, such as the educational time (investment time) required to qualify for the work and the prioritization of essential work. However, if you come to the conclusion that garbage collectors deserve relatively high pay and you happen to be a person who actually enjoys collecting garbage, then more power (and pay) to you and other people are unlikely to complain that they can use more of their time in other ways.

Recreational time is interesting in several ways. As a quasi-joke, I wrote a piece called "Couch potatoes of the world, unite." The URL is http://eco-epistemology.blogspot.jp/2013/04/couch-potatoes-of-world-unite.html and that was back in 2013, so I've been thinking about these ideas for a while... The interesting thing about consuming recreational time is that it is a bottomless pit and it usually does not actually consume the goods or services that were produced for recreation. There are exceptions like live theater and fancy foods, but books and movies can be reread and rewatched ad infinitum without destroying their recreational value.

Related Posts

2d

Are you getting 'Donald News' spam? How to make it stop?

I don't want to give the spammer any by-name publicity, but actually the spam is named for Trump and i...

<2y

Trying to complete the typology of the Theory of Literature, a partial translation of 文学論 with some other writings by Natsume Soseki as translated by Michael Bo...

Loading...