Most important in acceding to the need for radical change is acknowledging that economics is actually, simultaneously, always a social system. Given that acknowledgment, assimilating new changes is simply a matter of mental readiness–which all the following pages assume can be done–and intellectually would have already been done. by the time systems were set up and authorized.
No doubt resistance.will still be encountered, but within the tolerance level of the behavioral management to hand. The thing to realize is that bottlenecks appearing in the start-up period are likely not disastrous, and systems managers have run disaster scenarios and provided ample work-arounds. This is, after all, the 21st century.
For our purposes here, one can assume snafoos can be caught quickly and quickly resolved, but we’d ready to gear up for short-term tolerance in the beginning. It is not only the mechanisms of the new allocations we must manage. Re-tooling production for environmentally clean mechanisms and the recycling of abandoned products (such as simple cell phones that lose interest because not “smart” wired) is a high priority.
There are two significant tweaks to shift the economy in more fruitful directions. Distribution of resources is particularly different in this system. We must rely on two new organizational principles:
- triaging production so that we commit labor and resources where we truly want to see ample services and up-to-date products;
- and especially: tracking resources, both for anticipated supply (or extinction!), and to minimize waste by those authorized to use them on our behalf.
So then, new institutions:
1. A Resource Tracking Capacity, and
2. An Industrial Congress which provides leadership, drawn from each of the categories of goods and services underlying our commerce, of the goods and services to which the nation can commit to all residents. [Priorities are identified generically, not the detail: [Food, transportation, etc, not the specifics, like beef, romain lettuce, cars, high-speed rail, etc. Discussion follows.
Note that a Resource Tracking Board is not a particularly new function. The United States Department of the Interior already includes in its own mission a Geological Survey. From its website:
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) [is] an independent fact-finding agency that already collects, monitors, analyzes, and provides scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, issues, and problems. [It carries] out studies on a national scale . . . to sustain long-term monitoring and assessment of natural resources. . . . It has no regulatory or management mandate [and] provides impartial science that serves the needs of our changing world. The diversity of scientific expertise enables the USGS to carry out large-scale, multi-disciplinary investigations that build the base of knowledge about the Earth. In turn, decision makers at all levels of government–and citizens in all walks of life–have the information tools they need to address pressing societal issues.
There may be a need to add additional staff to this board to assist in broader information dissemination, to manage the electronic production of the data; but on the whole, this description of already existing U.S. Govt natural resource monitoring effectively identifies the function seen for a Resource Board tracking our most essential life supports. Like the Geological Survey, a Resource Tracking Board is not anticipated to have any regulatory or management authority; however, its functions will be raised to much higher visibility, similar to a stock exchange now posting interactive stock sales.
The Resource Tracking Board would post its data such that both manufacturers and the Industrial Congress can see all raw resources, by availability and usage, in near instantaneous updates electronically. These postings will cite the relevant units of weight or volume in current supply, the units that have been taken out of the system in the past year, and the units that have been taken out in the past five and ten years. Thereby, manufacturers–still entirely independent entities–can make appropriate decisions on materials specification. An additional figure must also be devised and posted, symbolizing the difficulty of accessing the various raw resources, including the energy required to acquire them and the distance required for transporting particularly isolated resources.
(One executive I asked for comment on this system remarked–what’s the matter with using $$ for this abstract? Of course he has a point–he is speaking of all the in-puts of efficiency pricing as he knows them in our current world. The point is, a similar abstract can be contrived that is just as useful, just as precise even, that does not rely on a back-up of exchangeable manipulables to stimulate desire.) In fact, “stimulating” desire is hardly a goal at all in this system. The use of tracking technology–the exceptional inventory tools already in common use to create leading-edge manufactures (with their inventory only on demand)–is exactly the means that can quickly bring goods and services provided into alignment with sane use of resources, and availability spread equably across the nation.
The difference between sane planning of resource use and creation of “market demands” is huge. The economy (and resource usage) can be usefully conflated (“doing more with less, as state governors now demand, as they make the “hard choices” of budgetary restraint), while Walmart and low quality goods disappear.
Accessing resources, however, for individual and corporate businesses, needs as seamless a means as money now provides. An Industrial Congress sets up a brand new infrastructure for seamless identification of production demand. Note immediately, however, the assessments it conducts (and in fact, mediates, between differing arenas of production) has no regulatory or management functions, but like a nation’s constitution, it does set up the conceptual ground from which priorities evolve. From there, Banks make resources available, and the Professional and Trade Associations determine service quality through tested Best Practices. (The name “banks” is retained for accessing resources, even though they no longer hold and distribute money. They do, nevertheless, grant the same authorizations for contract formation, based on Business Plans and due diligence review as was formerly the purpose of loans and stock issues, and so the familiarity of the term banks is useful here.)
Before moving on to see the specific roles these organizations will play in facilitating seamlessly functional systems, it is critical to note that while the Industrial Congress identifies the Goods and Services that the economy must provide, it makes no stipulations of size, style, color or function of any of the goods they identify as worthy of the use of our resources. The hands-on people–the professionals and tradesmen who know what they can do make all those decisions, once their leadership identifies priorities. If Industrial Congress postings of priority goods and services do carry quality or durability standards, it will because the Professions and Trades have come to consensus on what they think not only desirable, but feasible. The manufacturers and service providers will, as elected leaders in the Industrial Congress, in effect be negotiating their own needs. The difference is: they will never be unmindful of the fluctuations of resources being consumed by the other specialized arenas that support our growth, as at the very top level of this organization, final gross resource allocations will be negotiated between them.