Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Own or Be Owned, V: Basic Binary

In the "post-scarcity" theory developed by Kelso, "Binary" means "consisting of two parts." Kelso divided the factors of production into two all-inclusive categories — the human ("labor"), and the non-human ("capital"). The central tenet of binary economics is that there are two components to productive output and to income: (1) that generated by human labor, and (2) that generated by capital. Classical economic theory, on the other hand, regards all output and income to be derived from labor whose productivity is enhanced by capital.

Traditional schools of economics assume that scarcity is inevitable.  In contrast, binary economics views shared abundance — sustainable economic growth and the equitable distribution of future wealth, income and governance power throughout society — as achievable.

Binary economics holds that broad-based affluence and economic freedom is made possible through the widespread ownership through new "social tools" of new ever more productive capital instruments and reformed institutions ("social tools") to produce more and more consumable goods over time, with less and less human input and resources.  This is opposed to financial insecurity and economic dependency for the many on the decisions of a tiny ownership elite or on that "social tool" we call the State.

Binary economists Robert Ashford and Rodney Shakespeare identify three distinguishing concepts within binary theory — binary productiveness, the binary property right, and binary growth. These components interact and reinforce one another, allowing for maximum rates of sustainable growth within a modern, globalized economy.

Binary economics recognizes a natural synergy, as opposed to an unavoidable trade-off, between economic justice and efficiency within a global free marketplace. Rejecting pure laissez-faire as well as basic socialistic and collectivist assumptions, binary economics holds that a truly free and just global market requires (1) effective broad-based ownership of capital, (2) the restoration of and universalized access to the full rights of private property, (3) limited economic power of the state (whose main role should be to eliminate special privileges, monopolies and lift all barriers to equal participation) and (4) free and open markets as the most objective and democratic "social tool" for determining just wages, just prices, and just profits.


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