Apparently this is the big new thing: timebanking and co-production. John Harris says that Ed Millipede is going to, well, maybe, use this as the centre of the salvation of the Left.
So, err, what is it then?
Timebanking rejects price, valuing all hours equally, because price equates
value with scarcity relative to demand.
Ah, right, timebanking is insane then. We value an hour of someone doing brain surgery at the same as the value of an hour of someone wiping bottoms.
Entirely ignoring that it takes 20 years of intensive training to do brain surgery (and 20 years of such by people who need to have a rare innate skill set) while wiping arses is something that can be picked up in a couple of days.
And, erm, given that each hour of labour is equally valued we also have no mechanism (other than politics of course, and won\’t that be fun for the politicians?) for allocating labour to the activities which provide the highest value. Without a price system (or direct direction by politicians) how can we know whether we need more house insulation hours or more food production hours? Without a pricing of labour how can we know whether we should be investing capital in one or another activity? For if we don\’t know the price of labour we cannot work out where we should be substituting for it.
They\’re insane (but then this is the new economics foundation).
The author of System
Failure, Jake Chapman, explains why, with market systems, ‘you can deliver
pizza but you can’t deliver public services’.
Eh? Sure you can deliver public services using markets. You can\’t provide public goods all that well with them, this is true. But there\’s a difference between the two. Vaccinations (a public good) are very diofferent from hip replacements (in the NHS a public service). Education for example: the Swedish have a market based solution and no one thinks that\’s got bad results (although there are those who swoon precisely because it is a market based system). The English public schools seem to do all right.
As to the rest of it, co-production seems to be Burke\’s little platoons dressed up as something which the bureaucrats have to manage. Entirely nonsensical as the whole point of the little platoons is that they work because bureaucrats don\’t manage them.
But then this is the new economics foundation.