The Timesizing® Program
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1999-2015 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Box 117, Harvard Sq PO, Cambridge, MA 02238, USA (617) 623-8080 - Previous Phase or Next Phase or Whole Program or Homepage

Phase 2 - Constantly converting chronic overtime (OT) into on-the-job training (OJT) & jobs =
automatic business reinvestment in rebuilding consumer markets via more jobs & less burnout - How?
One way: steep corporate OT tax with exemption for reinvestment in OT-targeted training & JOBS
Compare Wales's *ProAct Program, and Klaus Schwab's article† "The new key to growth is unlocking latent talent" in 5/14/2015 Toronto Globe & Mail p.B4 (finder's credit to Gail Stewart of Ottawa) and "automatic investment" concept in Robert Heilbroner's Worldly Philosophers, 6th Ed. (1986), Ch. IX, esp.p.282, and Albert Deane & Henry Norton's Investing in Wages: A Plan for Eliminating the Lean Years (1932).

Purpose of Phase 2 - There is "straight time" e.g. 0-40 hrs/wk per person and "overtime" e.g. over 40 hrs/wk. Humans are the most versatile species but chronic overtime (OT) represents a market-identified bottleneck of skills and a waste of versatility. Employers who depend on OT to make what they consider sufficient levels of corporate revenue are practicing a short-term growth-blocking strategy in this age of automation, robotics and A.I.   On the employee side, worksharers err in assuming mere workweek trimming will provide full employment via OT magically converting itself into training and hiring. No no no. We must double-down on this. Just leaving it to blackbox "market forces" dba chance has not been keeping up with the pace of technological introduction. We must designedly, deliberately, and vigorously convert OT into OT-targeted training and jobs. Our present OT design and straight-time workweek cap incentivate employees to work OT while giving employers only minor disincentives against offering it. This flawed incentive design must be modified to consistently and strongly disincentivate OT relative to hiring for both employees and employers - for example, a 100% tax on (chronic) OT with a 100% exemption when 100% of profits attributable to overtime relative to hiring are reinvested in OT-targeted on-the-job training (OJT) and job creation. This changes the start of overtime every week from something negative - a limit on wage-yielding employment - into something positive - the start of job-creating reinvestment, turning the top of the workweek into an automatic reinvestment threshold, or ART.
†This approach delivers on Klaus Schwab's proviso: the impact of new technology on employment can be positive "provided that new work-force skills can be developed rapidly in their own sectors and in the labour market more broadly. ...Businesses must redirect investment to OJT and.\.their employees' continuous learning. .\.Addressing this mismatch in supply and demand [of skills] will require..plan[ning] for a future in which change is the only constant..."

To design out the downward potential of the "business cycle," the private sector needs to reinvest a lot more continuously and voluminously in its own markets. Otherwise, we repeatedly come to crises where we have far more productivity than markets. In other words, our managers and economists have been talking exclusively about productivity, productivity, productivity, but it's only marketable productivity that counts. If you can't sell it, it's just ballast, weighing you down and stressing the natural environment. Put another way, if the private sector allows the centripetal forces on money to overcome the centrifugal, money concentrates and coagulates in the topmost income brackets, the top tiny fraction (est. 0.01%) of the population who were already spending as much as they cared to before they got the last $10 million. It's like a Great Leak Upward and it forms an economic Black Hole where so much money is compressed so tightly among so few people that none can escape beyond the "event perimeter." The "trickle down" effect is minuscule and meaningless when we need huge HUGE volumes of money centrifuging back into circulation on the same scale as it's concentrating.

As money is redistributed up the income continuum, it changes function from spending power to investing power. because the top hundredth percentile (0.01%) were already spending as much as they wanted before the last $10 million flew into their accounts. They're not lookin' for stuff to buy but places to invest, and there aren't any cuz THEY've got all the money (I'm exaggerating to get this through your heads). By failing to pass along the benefits of technology in terms of More Free Time for everyone, they have allowed a huge labor surplus to develop which has forced wages down, down, down and resulted in a situation where the consumer base can no longer purchase its own output. So effectively, they have vacuumed the spending power OUT of the markets for the productivity that they NEED to invest in. Since it's not where it should be, in those markets, and it's where it shouldn't be, squashed in HUGE volumes in their own bulging accounts, there are fewer and fewer sustainable investment options at the massive levels they need - they just don't have time to do microlending on their scales and they don't even have time to give it away except to the hugest "charities" like Harvard University ($30-35B endowment?) = "taking coals to Newcastle." Besides, any system that relies on capricious, deliberate charity for vital functions like money spreading is doomed. Put another way, money ceases to be dynamic circulating currency and turns into decoration.

When that happens, the private sector experiences a fast or slow reduction in markets for productivity of all sorts in a kind of downward spiral - in short, a cut in corporate profits of the sort that we saw in March/99 and 1987 and 1981 and all previous recession. The biggy was 1929-41, the Great Depression. (Note that the term, business "cycle," is a misnomer because neither the downward nor the upward curve is automatic.)

So the design challenge is to reverse the downward spiral by centrifuging the national income and wealth and keeping the amount of spending power and investing power balanced in such a way that the amount of spending is always relatively huger = enough to provide sustainable investments. The money deconcentration has to be continuous, grassroots&frontline, automatic, non-arbitrary, as close to market-oriented as possible and it has to accelerate (by centrifuge action) spending activity more than investing activity.

The easiest basis of such a design would target overtime employment, rather than some direct definition of excess income ("overgain") or excess wealth ("overhold"). Why? Because where's the easiest place to start restoring all the money flows that have been distorted in the Great Redistribution Upwards that the wealthy have been conducting all during peacetime (they have a tough time maintaining this during war, ergo "wartime prosperity")? If you take money from rich A to give to poor B, you just turn B into a parasite and don't compensate A. However, if you take work away from overworked or workaholic A to give to un- or under-employed B, you turn B into a fully self-supporting participant and you give A a life. Instead of freedom rhetoric, you compensate A with the most fundamental freedom, free time, alias leisure. This is not to be confused with anxious unemployment because the definition of fulltime has changed - downward - and A is still employed fulltime with any and all associated benefits.

So an overtime tax on corporations with an exemption for on-the-job training and hiring in the overtime pressured skills would satisfy the requirements. As noted in a NY Times article, "Job-specific training gives the unemployed a leg up" (11/10/2013 NYT, G2), and reactivating the potential primary and secondary domestic consumers represented by each and every jobless person gives the economy a leg up.

Essentially it would incentivate corporations to reinvest in their own markets via the skills of their own employees or via adding more employees, thus upgrading the spending power of their own small corner of the whole vast economy. It would avoid the downward spiral of downsizing that we are in today (and were also in back in the 1920's).

For corporations, it would equate to reinvesting in their own markets and long-term future, via their own employees. The problem will automatically control the solution - overtime will trigger, size, pace and finance its own resolution.

If a company or organization A refuses to use their overtime profits for OT-targeted training and hiring, the governmental agency refereeing the job market sees that the reinvestment is done anyway, as closely as possible to what company A should be doing. If there is a similar or competitive private-sector company or organization B nearby, it is given the opportunity to do the training and hiring with the overtime tax revenues from system-destructive company A, which declined to spread those bottlenecked working hours. This possible subsidy to a potential competitor serves as an additional incentive to company A to do the reinvesting itself. At each step, the government follows a policy of minimum necessary departure from status quo. If company A insists on overworking its employees relative to the ambient level of worksaving technology, this overtime-policy design counters with a double inducement to do the right and sustainable thing: it is disincentivated by a tax on itself and by subsidy for its more sustainably spirited rival, company B. In similar fashion, the government during the ecological age gradually reverses all manner of subsidies for whole-system deterioration and all manner of taxes on whole-system sustainability.

But how do we define overtime? The easiest first approach would be to just enforce our existing 40-hour workweek standard. Get that running smoothly with full reinvestment providing all kinds of job opportunities throughout the economy and then and only then, link it to our level of technology so that the workweek goes down and the amount of overtime getting transformed into jobs goes up.

But it might be even easier to survey the real hours being worked throughout the economy and start at the highest level of hours - gain the cooperation of the workaholics and the wage slaves, since the economy has the markets have the most new jobs to gain from them and they have the most to gain from getting more balance into their lives in terms of health and family/spiritual/civic/recreational values (not to mention basic Freedom), and slowly bring the workweek down from there.


Quick Reference. The 5 phases of the public-sector stage of the Timesizing program (bear in mind there's a long private-sector stage preceding that) are:
1. Referendums, to broadly define unemployment and set target rates
2. Corporate overtime tax with an exemption for OJT and hiring
3. Individual workoholic tax with an exemption for mentoring and employing
4. Making the workweek vary inversely with unemployment, newly defined to include welfare, disability, homelessness, prisons, forced part time and self employment, forced early retirement...
5. If the workweek gets too short too fast, shifting the pressure to imports, immigrants, or births

6.=new 1. If the public doesn't want to squeeze imports immigrants or births, we move on to the next program, "Paysizing," and go through the same private and public sector stages of 5 phases apiece with "income and poverty" instead of "employment and joblessness".

For more details, see our campaign piece alias social-software manual, Timesizing, Not Downsizing, which is available from *Amazon.com online or *Porter Sq. Books in Cambridge MA.

Questions, comments, feedback? Phone 617-623-8080 (Boston) or email us.


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