Thursday, May 17, 2012

Exchange vs. fair exchange

Exchange, as surely as it can be beneficial, can be uni-laterally beneficial, neutral, or even negative. Exchange can also be consensual, or unilaterally desired, or in some rare cases desired by neither party in the actual exchange. My relationship to Nabisco share holders is strictly antagonistic. They seek to reap a maximal heap of what I have had; and I seek, at least, sustenance because I own no property suitable to produce the food which I require. We are mutually beneficial in the long term so they won't kill me with mercury unless it costs too much to avoid. Likewise, I don't have the option of non-profit food sources so I must tolerate an exchange with a party whose disposition I find unnecessarily antagonistic (Nabisco share holders). If I had the option of exchanging ducats for food produced by a non-profit I would exercise that option and I would hope to have earned those ducats at an exchange rate that reflects both my interests and the interests of the communities I am a party to. Specifically I would hope that my income would be a reflection of the cost of living plus an incentive for performance, as established by my predecessors, and incentives established by the rate of necessity for a particular type of practice. Interestingly, the most obvious formula for expressing societal necessity involves the average performance of the individual practitioners and determines the number of those practitioners it takes to fully supply the populace (call it n) and compares it to actual number of practitioners (n/n-real) resulting in a ratio (roughly around 1/1) which, when multiplied by base income, incentivizes entering useful professions without gouging. The same math trick can be applied to gross performance.  It could be patients treated, cars serviced, kids educated sufficiently to pass a test, some numeric value which encapsulates the grossest possible metric of a task, put your performance in a ratio with your predecessor (yours/predecessor) and you can smoothly integrate the income curve between apprentice, journeyman, and master.  Of course each trade would probably insist that things like malpractice rate or lowering operating costs also be integrated into their "single variable" evaluation but the spirit of the convention remains the same.  Living wage * ratio of predecessor performance * ratio of necessity in society = fair exchange.