ELEVENTH RLDG ZOOM DISCUSSION 27 August 2021

TOPIC: IDEAS FOR CONTRIBUTING TO SNA 2025

[The members of RLDG had all been sent six documents from the SNA, three of which are Guidance Notes, written to analyse specific known problems with SNA 2008 and propose solutions that will lead to SNA 2025, each accompanied by a questionnaire:

SNA 2025 is the intended System of National Accounts to be published by the United Nations, which all nations will use from that date for compiling their national accounts. It is to replace SNA 2008. The RLDG sees it as a privilege to have been invited to contribute, and a great opportunity to bring a Christian and Dooyeweerdian perspective into such debates.

The UN SNA discussions are led by three Task Groups: Wellbeing and Sustainability (WS), Globalization (G), and Digitalization (D). ]

Hence, this discussion may be seen as an exemplar of how to bring the insights generated during previous discussions (the first ten), as summarised in Summary of First Eight Discussions, to bear on an actual example of contributing to thought in economics. [zb30]

Contents of Discussion 11, on Ideas for Contributing to SNA 2025

  • ----- THE DISCUSSION

  • ----- Aspectual Analysis of Types of Unpaid Activity

    ----- THE DISCUSSION

    PRESENT: JC, RG, AB (Apols from CA, NO, SM, NB)

    # JC: We're just here to help you AB, to give perspective and help, to bounce off ideas.
    # I read the articles [WS2, WS3, maybe not WS6] and took some notes.
    # Have some comments.


    # That plateau idea kind of ...

    [AB: JC had sent AB an email, which included the text:

    "AFter reading the article, the idea of unpaid labor is the plateau that enables the paid labor in the household or family to ascend the summit of financially rewarding labor to a higher degree" [zb31]

    which is described more fully below and more sharply as "unpaid activity is the base on which the value of paid activity is enabled and gains its value".

    This was followed by

    "could we set up a unique measurement structure to show how unpaid labor both in the paid labors history and present provide a measurable base of economic strength from which to start their paid labor career?"

    JC then, in his email, suggested the idea of Net Assessment, an analytical-planning approach used in the US DoD. ]

    # JC ... kind of / I thought through from the perspective of Net Assessment and that's why I want to introduce you to the idea that [of] Net Assessment. Because like Dooyeweerd, NetAss takes in on-the-ground actual activity of an organisation. [zb32]
    # So that's where you have to couch your thought systems and recommendations in the reality of how complex organisations actually work. [zb33]

    [AB: That is about the How of RLDG engagement.] [zb34]

    [00.55]

    # AB: We'll come to that Assessment in a minute. But [first], can you tell me, your kind of overview of what you think about the documents.

    # [--- RG arrived ---]
    # RG: May not be able to stay to the end, because have to go and collect [child] from nursery. [AB: Later RG said he could stay around half an hour or 40 minutes or so.]
    # [greetings]
    [02.20]

    --- Overview of SNA Guidance Notes on Unpaid Household Work [zb01]

    # [AB asked which documents had been read: JC had read WS3 and WS2 (households; but sadly had not received WS6 - which was not realised until the very end!), RG had read WS6 (sustainability) and made a start on WS3 and WS2 (households).]

    # RG: Like you I found it hard going. The distributional one is about breakdown of GDP into different kinds of households and different individuals and so on. [zb35]

    # AB: JC, would you like to give an overview of what you think about the three [it turned out only two] documents.
    [04.00]

    # JC: The overview of the three documents, I would say, are: bringing very specific language to incremental units of measurement that can be extrapolated across typically sectioned-off areas of measurement. [zb36]
    # They brought that up with the idea of households being different, in different areas, the idea of microeconomics, and the activities within microeconomics being different from macroeconomics, but trying to figure out a bridge between the economic structures in different household structures. [zb37]
    # And then with the idea of the third one - hold on [AB: It turned out later that JC had not received WS6, so the mention of "third" caused confusion; however, JC answered by bringing out an important message of WS3] - there's an unpaid service work / [The intention] was to properly identify and articulate what is household / unpaid service work affliated with households, that isn't leisure activity. [zb38]
    # So there was the two papers [AB: By mistake, JC had received two copies of WS2] dealing with the segmentation of what markets are, what household individual markets are, macroeconomic forces as well as microeconomic forces, and a bridge between them. [zb39]
    # And then with the unpaid labor structures is: there are all these things that are happening in a household that aren't paid but add value, and trying to figure out a measurement appropriate for those things, across those individually-separated household units, which are mentioned in the other papers. [zb40]
    # That's my overview. [AB: A great summary, even if slightly wordy!]
    [05.37]

    [AB: Bringing in household work and leisure accords with one of our principles: to widen economics to see the economic aspect as interwoven with others, rather than isolated or absolutized. Many household activities are meaningful in these other aspects, and the SNA wants to ensure that National Accounts properly reflect the 'quality' or progress of each nation rather than just its money-flow. Hence we see SNA 2025 as in line with this principle. ] [zb41]

    [AB: Wishing to integrate micro and macro economics, recognising the need to do so in bringing households into national accounts accords with another of our principles. ]

    # AB: What's your opinion, evaluation of each of them?
    # JC: The unpaid is much more specific. The unpaid labour helps ground some decisions we can look at. I believe.

    [AB: I think this might relate to JC's plateau idea.]

    # JC: I've read that one last, so I think I was informed by the other two articles first, so I was starting to think in that paradigm. Then I read that unpaid labour sector to kind of see how they were trying to nest these things.
    # What I saw there: their desire is to unify very drastically different things, called households. [zb42]
    # And then try to create some sort of equity of valuation of unpaid labour within those households. [zb43]

    # JC: [Example:] On a sidenote, I was mentioning this to my Mother-in-law. She shared that in at least in Florida, guardianship - she took care of the guardianship of her mother before she passed. And so, as a guardian of her mother, the state would have paid her certain things, certain amounts, based on the activities that this article lists off. I didn't get a chance to talk to my mother. She's the guardian for my grandmother and my grandfather, and I don't know if North Carolina is different. But I was struck that there is a measurable amount associated with elder care as a specific one - driving to store, or shopping, cooking - these things that were listed out in this unpaid / And to give some sort of economic value to them, so that the person providing that can provide that service support to the individual. That was just found out yesterday. [zb44]
    [07.45]
    # AB: Comments on any others [AB was still unaware that JC had not read WS6]
    # JC: I could go through notes and stuff.

    # AB: RG, did you read sufficient of the households one to pick up JC's comment.
    # RG: Not really. I was just starting to question:
    [08.15]

    --- What is the Point of SNA? [zb02]

    # RG: What is the bigger point of this?
    # ... What are the Standard National Accounts for, and what should they be for?
    # ... I don't see how we can evaluate them unless we know what they really ought to be doing.

    [AB: SNA 2008 (p.4) introduces the purpose of SNA as: "The main objective of the SNA is to provide a comprehensive conceptual and accounting framework that can be used to create a macroeconomic database suitable for analysing and evaluating the performance of an economy. The existence of such a database is a prerequisite for informed rational policymaking and decision-taking. ... Certain key aggregates of the SNA, sucah s GDP and GDP per head of population, have acquired an identity of their own and are widely used by analysts, politicians, the press, the business community and the public at large as summary, global indicators of economic activity and welfare." But that was not know at the time of the discussion.]

    # JC: AB gave a great answer to me before the start [or recording], before you got on, actually.
    # AB: This is the first time we discussed this, RG. The previous zoom meeting, I don't think I'd even received this stuff. So you haven't missed anything from this.
    # AB: As I understand it, what they [the proposals for redesigning the system of national accounts, SNA] are for is to enable National Accounts to more appropriately (or adequately) reflect the 'quality' of a nation. [zb45]
    # When I say "quality" it could be progress, wellbeing - I'm not sure what [AB: "progress" was mentioned somewhere, and wellbeing is one of the Task Groups]. They are talking about wellbeing, so that's what I see them as for.
    # So [for example] with GDP, you can say that Nation X has a bigger GDP than Nation Y but Y has much more happiness. So GDP / the National Accounts don't reflect the quality of a nation.
    # And of course Bhutan has this famous National Happiness Index [Zoom missed that], which I think the world is learning from. [zb46]
    # I might be being a bit rosy-tinted spectacles what they are doing, but that sounded to me what they are trying to do, especially in the Wellbeing Task Group.
    [10.55]

    # JC: They really are trying to standardise what a household is, from an economic perspective.
    # To then be able to extrapolate the different unpaid activities within those households, to see how they can be valued equitably, to give an nice baseline across the entire country of households. [zb47]
    # [...] To the overall point, RG, its like "This information helps us have a lens to see what are the variables they are trying to handelise [I suspect that Zoom missed a bit there and it should be "handle and internalize"], how they differentiate them, how do we value that, and /
    # Like, RG, you and I are just atolgrid??? [I suspect Zoom missed some syllables there!] ... for you all. ... [AB: some ancillary stuff there]
    [11.50]

    # AB: So. the bigger point of this is / well that's the overall purpose of this exercise.
    # AB: But (I think it was after I discussed with you RG by phone) I realised there's an awful lot of different actual purposes for which people use National Accounts. [zb48]
    # And so in the draft notes I sent through the other day, there's a little note on that, using aspects to try and delineate out a number of different purposes. Example: Pistic is when a nation tries to outdo another nation in terms of, say, "My nation is better than yours." But thee's also analytica, social [purposes], and so on. [zb49]
    # What I found, in reading these things [WS Guidance Notes], is that a number of purposes of National Accounts are mentioned, or alluded to rather, but never set out. [zb50]
    # Talking about how they are used in practice, rather than what they are intended for. [zb51]
    [13.20]

    # RG: So, if you wanted to know what is the wellbeing of a country why on earth would you start with national accounts? [zb52]
    # AB: [,,,] I think it's not "Why start with national accounts?" I suspect it's rather, "We've got these national accounts. They are being used in league tables of countries. It would be good if the national accounts better expressed the 'quality' of the country, rather than just the number of dollars that shift through its fingers.
    [14.15]
    # AB: Our discussions of value are very relevant to that, including yours, RG, saying there are certain things that we cannot measure. [zb53]

    --- Valuing Unpaid Work [zb03]

    # JC: What I'm seeing: Maybe what they want to establish in this is how would they value, within national accounts, appropriate unpaid work. If they can figure out a way to appropriately value [unpaid work] (not necessarily reimburse) but show the labour that is unaccounted for from an economic standpoint currently. [zb54]
    # And they're able to better show levels of inequality, probably, across countries. Able to show exploitation indexes in certain ways. There's a lot of things you can find out between cultures when you needle down to see "How does the person working [paid] outside the home have that freedom to do that?" [zb55] ***
    # So a person working outside the home, earning capital: to do that, what happens behind the scenes to enable that [earning money] to happen? Is it just a wife or a husband allowing that [by doing unpaid work of the household]? Is it a wife husband or parents-in-laws? Is it a wife, husband and the entire village?
    # Like, what is the scope of unpaid labour that supports that one entity of economic productivity in a - I would say - in a network of activity?
    # I think they're shining some light in there.
    # AB: That's helpful.

    [AB: This is JC's idea of the plateau of unpaid work, from which arise the peaks of paid work. The peaks are visible, the plateau is not, but without it the peaks would not rise so high.] ***

    [AN: This again is the principle of seeing the economic aspect as one aspect among others. In this case, the emphasis is on how the economic aspect is dependent on the others, rather than on how the economic aspect impacts others. ]

    [16.00]

    --- On People Who Seem Not to Add Economic Value [zb04]

    [AB: This seems relevant to WS2: Distribution of Income, Consumption, Wealth in Families, and may furnish us with part of our response thereto. ]

    # RG: Just a thought that occurs there. [Example] I have a member of my family who lives on her own. And as far as I know she lives off family money, and spends time watching sermons on Youtube, reading Christian books, walking the dogs, feeding the hens, picking up the eggs, cooking nice meals, occasionally having guests round and giving food to people. What do you think, JC? Does she come into the accounts at all? [zb56]
    # JC: RG, absolutely.
    # Because they [SNA] introduce in that boring paper [WS2] / They did differentiate between family wealth (like inherited wealth, income wealth) and consumption etc. So, that's a great point you brought in. [zb57]
    # It helps me think about my actual tangible work a whole lot better. [AB: part of JC's work is fund-raising]
    # Reading the boring economic paper [WS2] made me think though, like "Actually, I gotta talk to people that can really afford to just give money away" and so they'll help support people that may / can / can possibly give money but it could hurt them. Like the wealthy people, like the woman you're explaining, she can give money away. [zb58]
    # Or her level of consumption is attuned to the specific amount of money she can live on. That's not necessarily wealth. Maybe she's getting 10,000 a year or whatever [AB: I think that JC was giving an example figure that, in the UK, might be fairly low income these days], and has figured out a lifestyle that manages that. [zb59]
    # That's not necessarily wealth; that's consumption rating.
    # So they break that down as well in those papers.
    # It's a good example though. To help push that as a "Look at this. This is wealth supporting that." Because that goes to, "Who allows that person to function in society?" It's the wealth the family provided her, not a spouse or someone else currently working behind the scenes unpaid to support that work.
    [18.03]

    # RG: Yes. Just to stay alive and healthy, any of us, including this person I'm talking about, has to work. But that work, on the face of it, at least from an economics point of view, I suppose, doesn't generate any surplus, doesn't generate any economic productivity. It's purely consumption. [zb60]
    # And I think she's probably / I don't know how happy she is in her life / but I think she's quite happy.

    [AB: Is that similar to a subsistence society - supplying the needs of the family but no more? Is this a way to understand it? ]

    # AB: Are you saying that this person, she's doing all these things, but she's not actually bringing any value, any extra value or good into the world? I mean, you don't exactly say that, but is that the sort of thing that you're thinking about? [zb61]
    # RG: I'm wondering. I don't really know. I suppose I find it difficult to say.
    # She has relationships with other members of the family, including me. She lends books to people. She sends gifts, nice birthday presents. She talks on the phone with people. So she's certainly doing some sort of good. She might be annoying some people as well ;-) [laughter].

    [AB: I think this shows that even such supposedly economically inactive people can bring some good into the world, some added value. But it's just not measured or even easily measurable. ]

    # There's probably not a / I don't know that.
    # There probably are lots of people in the world who are quite wealthy and live a fairly relaxed life like that. [zb62]
    # There are also people in their retirement, I suppose. # JC: Exactly. # RG: I suppose at the moment, retired people generally turn up in the national accounts purely as consumers.
    [20.00]

    # JC: They don't turn up as consumers.
    # The paper [WS2] talked about the lower amount of economic activity that they generally pursue at that level of life, because they do have to live on such a strict (you know) standard of economic flow on a yearly basis. [zb63]
    # So they [SNA] talk about that as well. So it's intended: "This is how we control for wealth distribution and those who may not be working and committing to that." But they [the people living frugally] are / they've established this standard of lifestyle they want to support from their current economic earnings, and live off investment in those ways, and so they [SNA] examine that a little bit too. [zb64]

    [AB: Frugal living - which Dooyeweerd finds as the good norm of the economic aspect]

    [20.40]

    # AB: Well that's interesting. It's almost getting to be a Biblical thing of the meaning of life, and what we should be doing. And Paul saying "You are saved to serve, to try to do good, and so on." [zb65]
    # I did immediately think, when you described her activity, that well she probably does do some good in lending books, hosting a few meals, and things like that. And those could be fairly good, even if / there might be quality rather than quantity, or something - I don't know. [zb66]
    # But I did also think, at the same time, "Maybe she doesn't need quite so many Youtube sermons. Maybe she's heard an awful lot of those before." [AB: I think AB means surfeit of good things might not be a good thing.] [zb67]
    [21.40]

    [AB: Milton's poem On His Blindness ends with "They also serve who only stand and wait." And some seem to be called just to love and worship Jesus. What good does that do?

    I wonder if even if she, RG's family member, did not do good to anyone, is she still doing something of value in just enjoying and appreciating the things around her, such as hens or countryside, or maybe attending to her heart before her Creator and Redeemer? What about artists or poets, who spend their lives enjoying and appreciating things around them? If she is deemed of no value, then so must they.

    What this means is that value must be seen not just in economic terms, not even in human-benefit terms. c.f. Gunto et al. [2017].
    ]

    --- On Volunteering [zb05]

    # RG: What about people who volunteer? Is that in the same category as people who do housework to support somebody else? [zb68]
    # [Example:] People who go and volunteer with a charity - let's say helping refugees from Afghanistan to settle somewhere.
    # JC: Yes, that's part of the Unpaid Labour, the section for that. Both in unpaid volunteer service as well as board participation. [zb69] ***
    # If you think of voluntary service, just like you're examining. Let's say you flew over to Western China to try to help someone get out of Afghanistan. That's active unpaid labour. But you are probably part of boards of something. Your board participation is also something that helps sustain that level of growth. And you're probably also giving financially to that. So there's a way to kind of double-account both your financial gift as well as your volunteer activity. That supports that activity. [zb70]

    [AB: Usually double-accounting is bad? But might it be that here it is valid? That it is valid when what we do generates Good in two different aspects, and we can account for the Good in both? Is that a way of recording multi-aspectual Good? ] [zb71]

    [22.40]

    --- Understanding Unpaid Activity via Dooyeweerd's Aspects [zb06]

    # JC: If you put Dooyeweerd's lenses on, there's a lot that this little umpaid labour thing kicks off. You think, "Oh! That, that, that, that too, that too, that too."

    [AB: Yes indeed, awareness of aspects helps us recognise different kinds of unpaid activity. Here are some examples of recognising aspectual kinds of unpaid activity that contributes some value, from WS3 and WS2. Each is qualified by an aspect, and each is in turn multi-aspectual. In each, aspects can help us think of other activities that are not mentioned but are important in that unpaid activity.

    At the end is a full worked example aspectual analysis of the table of types of unpaid activity found in WS3.

    ]

    # JC: The difficulty is, "How do you value that?" How do you pay, how do you extract some sort of measureable amount? [zb72]
    # When there is such disparity across households - wealth, inherited wealth, income levels, (you know) all these things? How can you show that? [zb73]
    # There's a lot of unpaid work. If you're out of work, if are without a job, you still have to keep family afloat. You stil have to shop for the kids, help the kids, feed the kids, teach the kids - all the other stuff. You're not getting paid for that, but that certainly adds value to overall society, because you're raising the children. [zb74]
    [23.39]

    # AB: That's interesting: value to society. I remember, when I was in the Green Party in the 1980s, these sort of issues were coming up. It was part of the thrust towards a Basic Income Scheme. Because it was recognised that there is an awful lot of people who do a lot of good that they are not being paid for. [zb75]
    # And at the time - Mrs. Thatcher and all that - the unemployed were seen as scrounger, and just a cost on society. [zb76]
    # But I personally knew a lot of unemployed people who actually used their time to do good. And there's one person, who's been unemployed, or rather retired sick, for a couple of decades or more, and he's a very active environmental campainger. Usually on the local level, of keeping footpaths open, and (you know) keeping watch on developers, and that sort of thing. The amount of value he brings to society, I think, is terrific, much more greater than most paid jobs.
    # And so I've been informed by that since the 1980s - that just because someone's outwith the paid economy ('scrounging') there a lot of them who do a lot of good.
    # And JC I think it is you that said, that raising kids, children, is of value to society.
    [25.25]

    --- On Children [zb07]

    # JC: Yeah, I mean. It didn't dawn on me until last night. I was sitting there - and you've raised your kids, AB, currently RG you're raising your kids, you're doing now as well. Like, I didn't comprehend how much of a job (unpaid labour) [raising kids is] /
    # Yes, it's loving labour /
    # and there's actually a qualification in the paper about "Is is leisure time?" So they also try to differentiate between leisure time and unpaid labour.
    # Obviously, there's time you spend with your daughter, RC, that is leisure time. It's just joyous, right? It's just fun, it's cool, you love it. It's leisure time.
    # But then, there's like corralling her to get her to school, or corralling her to do anything you want her to do. [laughter]

    # RG: Yes. And don't forget that the leisure time is also educational, in some sense. For a child, everything is education. It's only later in life that we start to formalise our education and distinguish it from leisure. [zb77] [See also below.]

    # JC: Absolutely. The values you try to witness, to show and like live with, and the way you treat your loved ones, the way you treat strangers, the way you treat the beggar on the street: all those things are actually unpaid but they bring value, because you are providing a moral structure for the that child to be raised within. [AB: I think JC is referring here not to the care for the stranger, but that children see their parents caring, and it forms their moral structure and norms.] [zb78] ***
    # And so that cannot be / that's not paid, but it needs to be a factor with how you provide a flowing, growing, positive economy.
    [27.05]

    --- The Plateau of Unpaid Economic Activity From Which Peaks Rise [zb08]

    # And, RG, there's a thought I shared with AB that I got out of the riggings (I sent him an email with it). I could be wrong, but I think your analysis mind might help it.
    # But what I derived from finally reading all this stuff, is, if the national accounts for the UN is able to establish a codified plateau of unpaid economic activity, that the traditional people that do that, usually the more poor, the women, the girls, the youth, the exploited classes across the world, if they [economic analysts?] can actually discern "This is the plateau of unpaid economic labour that enables people to rise to the summit of individual economic productivity." [zb79]
    # And so, what's been going on for hundreds of years / I shared this again with others and they said, "When/Well they have been arguing that forever." They're at home, raising the children, cooking the meals - and they're not thanked. [zb80]
    # And that enables traditional patriarchy, the man to go do work, whether it's in a mine or a university, or a cop, or whatever. [zb81]
    [28.17]

    # That plateau. If you just think of like the Himalayan Plateau - you have this giant plateau that actually is the base for all the higher peaks, that grows. # RG: Yes.
    # So, that's kind of where my mind has been warping??? around last night and today: seeing how we could help give some guidance into this structure and say, "Look at this, not as a competitive market indice (like, it's hard to say 'This value should trump this value, or be attached to that value') but if we look at total activity, [not only the peaks of paid economic activity, but also] the plateau that everything starts from, here's what actually been unaccounted. And that's the foundation that we need to assess and build." [zb82] ***
    # AB: [clarifying] Are you saying, JC, that this plateau, are you saying that unpaid activity is the base (plateau) on which the value of paid activity is enabled and gains its value and so on? # JC: Yes. [zb83]
    [29.32]

    --- Subsistence Society [zb09]

    # RG: AB, we talked briefly about this narrative (which is probably not really true?), which says that a nation initially lives at a subsistence level, historically, and then it starts to generate a surplus, that supports a community of ruling class and eventually perhaps philosophers. [zb84]
    # I think this is a sort-of cartoon [false caricature?], isn't it.

    [AB: RG is referring to a phone call, in which we discuss this. The 'popular' view is that at a subsistence level, people have to work all hours in order to survive, but it actually seems to have been the opposite. Did not hunter-gatherers have 25% of their time for leisure? That is why RG calls it a "cartoon".]

    # Just trying to see how this matches or doesn't match with JC's idea of the substrate or plateau of non-economic activity at the base.
    # Because, if you were in a subsistenace society, I suppose you'd find that - you'd still be able to say that the children, the infants in particular, are not helping anyone to eat. Whereas [zoom missed a bit] the feed, as it were, but they are being educated so that they can eventually farm the land and contribute to the economic functioning, even though there may be no money in the system. And then, of course, when people become too old to work the land, they have to be sustained by the labour of their children usually. And that's probably the cartoon of a subsistence economy. [zb85]

    # AB: I remember, years ago, there was a book called The Jesus Family in Communist China. It was about a Jesus family, in the late 1940s,, early 1950s, Christian communities in Communist China. And I remember it talking about one village, where everyone had something productive to do, including the elderly. The elderly had the job of killing flies. What they had to do was kill flies and count how many flies they killed, and report that at the end of each week or month, and the person who had killed most flies would get applause, or a prize or something. They were all honest about it. But I thought, "Yes, even the elderly have some 'value' in that society." [zb86]

    [AB: Suggestion: Is it time to rethink the presumption that subsistence living is somehow inferior to, or less progressive than, living in a highly differentiated economy and society? Especially from a Biblical perspective? ]

    [32.13]

    --- Education of Children [zb10]

    # RG: But especially in educat / I would have said the value is often should be in/with education, with their grandchildren not least.
    # AB: The education of children, including (the two of you have talked about) the leisure time and the loving time. That builds up a child in a much different way from if there's no leisure and no love.
    [32.40]

    # JC: Frankly, AB what you just said, with leisure and love, with the child being able to play freely and safely, and knowing / having that consistency of falling back on a parent that they know they love and they can trust, that helps build trust.
    # As trust goes on, it helps you actually act in an economy, to trust those people you are working with, trading with, (you know) doing business with or working for. [zb87] ***
    # Because, with the absence of trust there's a lot of inefficiency in market activity. And thus higher costs, and penalties, also there's contracts breaking, and so on and all that stuff.
    [33.30]

    --- Slavery and Reparations [zb11]

    # And I have to say this, why this plateau idea is getting more and more clear is that it honours time.
    # A lot of people critique Marx for saying he doesn't involve time as an appropriate actor of the economic system.
    # But if you actually see across generations / time, you see there's unpaid labour force in the West [zoom mixed up] /low slavery. / The West generated enormous wealth concentration off slavery. That [slavery] was unpaid labour.
    # And that unpaid labour, that value extracted from labour, then got sucked up into property rights, and investment controls, that did normally funnel the surplus of labour back to the families of the exploiter class. Not the exploited class, the exploiter class. [zb88]
    # And I think if we look at this, this gives a really clear way, a calm way, to discuss the principle of reparations. [zb89]
    # AB: Yeah, good point.
    # JC: It helps me see how you can see money across time, and value across time. Instead of just my money and my wealth creation and my family's wealth creation. Across generations. [zb90] ***
    [35.00]

    --- WS3 in Relation to Marxist and Free-Market Ideas [zb12]

    # RG: That's helpful. So does this fit with a kind of Marxist idea that there is an ongoing labour surplus? There's a labour economy, which generates its surplus, and that surplus has historically been siphoned off in different directions and reinvested or carried away, exploited and so on?
    # JC: Well, it's not Pickerty. These papers are not Thomas Pickerty, (like) clear, avowed true Marxist "We have to redistribute everything." But even when you look at things as/at different classes, people will inevitably read in different Marx perspectives in there. I think you could have a Marx perspective, you could even have free market perspectives.
    # There's no reason not to have a free-market lens. to just say "Look at this unpaid labour." If you even have "Everyone has a right to do whatever they want" you could still say "This is unpaid labour."
    # And you could still work on articulating what is the value that should be paid to that.
    # So, it's not Marxist or free-market. It's just a way to look at value.

    [AB: By the way, that is encouraging for our project of rethinking economics with the help of Dooyeweerdian and Christian perspectives. It tells me that we can explore the very nature and kernel of economics and including the idea of measuring and money, without those being tied to Capitalism or Marxism. ]

    # RG: Yes. But in a free-market view, if not paid for then it's not / you have to create a shadow economy, don't you, or something else like that, which is not part of the free-market system.
    # JC: Well, in a free-market, if there's no laws stipulating that.
    # Let's stay within the framework of the unpaid labour structure, and some of the examples in the paper are elderly care, child care. Typically, the woman - my wife and I do a lot of care, but the woman is the one who sleeps with H [youngest], when H is freaking out and screaming, 1, 2, 4 am. Like she's done last night. That's unpaid labour. That's really affecting her life.
    # Well, how it works in a shadow economy, is: I work, she works too, but I work and I should do something to thank her. I should say "Thanks, Dear, I love you; you do a lot; that sacrifice is huge." And that's within the family.
    # The national accounts are saying "There's a ton of this that happens, across every sort of walk of life" that needs to be accounted for. Because the country as a whole has a possible flourishing point to pursue if it is accounted for appropriately. [zb91]
    # And that I think is the charitable way to look at it.
    # There's flourishing to be had if people are appropriately honoured for their labour.
    # Look at labour, not the class within which that happens, not - but the activity itself is the honourable activity that is examined in these articles [WS2, WS3].

    [AB: That sounds good. It moves us towards the idea of economics as human functioning (which is multi-aspectual). ]

    [37.50]

    --- Value of Discussion Above [zb13]

    # AB: Well, that's been very helpful, folks. There's an awful lot there that I think I'm going to be able to put into our [SNA] response and so on.
    # AB: RG, I guess it's more than half an hour since you joined us. Do you need to go?
    # RG: Yes, I need to go, really. Thank you. It's been very interesting, thought-provoking for me. Thanks, JC and AB, for stimulating discussion. I'll leave you there then and hope to talk to you then in a while.

    # AB: What I plan to do is to write these [SNA contributions?] up over the weekend or Monday etc. and then send them round as a draft for comments. So people can add to them.

    # AB: RG, comments on WS6? Offline?
    # RG: No comments on WS6 really. Have enjoyed this conversation though.
    # AB: The two of you have really flourished, brought up wonderful stuff.
    # RG: bye-bye. # JC: Bye, RG.
    # [--- RG left. ---]
    [39.50 - spot on! RG said he could stay 40 minutes!]

    --- On Understanding Economics [zb14]

    # JC: How else can I help, AB? I have time.
    # AB: I don't really know. By listening to you two, I find myself greatly helped. I'll listen to the transcript/recording carefully and rethink it.
    # I don't understand economics; lot of stuff I don't understand. There's a lot I do understand. I don't know what I don't understand.
    # JC: You have the best view of the Dooyeweerd's aspects and the overarching foundation of that perspective, even from the Kuyperians. You help us understand that better. If you read through these things, and with your lens of having everything grounded, in real life, that helped me wade thrugh a lot of this stuff. None of this is esoteric. None of this is removed from actual life. It has to do with activity.
    # You know more about economics than I do. I just see how this work could be used in a really positive way.
    # AB: I even had to look up what an asset was. I know vaguely what it is, but don't know the baggage that comes with it, to those who are talking about assets, in economics, finance, economic analysis, and so on. So I had to go away and read up what an asset is. There's an awful lot of implications of the idea of asset. And it's the same with every single concept. Now, you've been in business, so you have a better idea of what an asset is than I did. I didn't realise / I didn't understand a balance sheet, because I've never had to do them (except as a trustee of a church and see what's happening). I didn't realise there are two main liabilities on a balance sheet. One is called capital and is the owners' shares. I didn't really know that. And then everything else is locked into obligations. You've been in business, so you know about these things. # JC: Not a lot. # AB: In your tacit knowledge. # JC: Yeah. [zb92] [Re. Understanding economics]
    [43.33]

    # JC: To kind of throw you for a loop, when you're talking about assets itself, we are witnessing the creation of a new type of asset. This considered blockchain stuff continues to rifle through. And not cryptocurrency but this new property rights that people are seeing, as a part of the non-fungible tokens. We are watching a new asset become - it's kind of neat to see. The world is seeing a new asset come to life. A new property rights, as part of those assets, new derivative rights off those assets. [zb93]
    # So really, an asset is something that someone else has a perception of value on, that can be discerned. That's it. [zb94]
    # AB: That's interesting. That's why I had difficulty in really understanding blockchain, apart from some of the technical things. I didn't realise that.

    --- Net assessment [zb15]


    [44.40]

    # AB: Thank you for your email [with attached article about Net Assessment]. The irony of it was that by the end of page 1 I had not a clue what NA was about. The idea of "net", I wondered if it was to do with Net Domestic Product, which WS6 is pushing. I don't really understand that [either]. So, Net Assessment, he began, "We don't want to define by what it's not. We don't want to define it by what the people involved have said, the history." Then it says, "We want to define it positively. NA is a procedure, a process, an activity, a skill or whatever it was." And I immediately thought, "Well mending the car is a process or a skill. So what's the difference between NA and mending a car? What is NA?" I've been through the whole article and I still don't really undderstand. There's something in the middle of page three or somewhere, that gives me a clue. It seems to be saying "Take everything into account." OK, great! Now I understand it: Take everything into account. Including burocratic activities. And I thought, Now I understand it, and I've been trying to do that [taking everything into account] with Dooyeweerd for 20 years. So is that what it is: take everything into account? [If so, then why bother with it; why not just use Dooyeweerd, which is far better?!]
    # JC: But also, for a year ago, that level??? is almost more important: How things act within the cultural aspect of the entity of a large burocratic organisation.
    [47.00]
    # JC: In fact, any organisation; large is a qualification we don't need to have. # AB: OK, so take out "large". (And I see that you have as much difficulty in spelling "bureaucratic" as I do! [clapping] So I spell it b-u-r-o-... )

    # AB: Ss, it's not just taking everything into account, but it's specifically the things that have been missed out about the cultural aspect of a burocratic organisation. Taken those into account.
    # JC: Yeah. Understanding a competitive landscape, the actual competitors themselves. And that example, of the DoD [US Department of Defence], understanding that if they exploit the USSR's spending habits /. So they even understand like: I'm the US and you are the USSR, if I can assess how much money you are spending on your military, then at a certain point I can break your country. You're spending way too much money on the military and not taking care of your people. Because your culture will fall apart, there will be distrust. The Iron Curtain will fall. If I know that for sure, then I can make strategies of just marketing and say "Hey we're going to create a Star Wars program and put a satellite in the sky" and I know that you're to hear that and freak out, and going to say "Oh my goodness we have to spend more." And then I'm going to say "Oh, we'll develop a bomber that can blow up the whole of Moscow with two pilots" and they're going to go, "Oh my goodness, what do I do?" And they're going to freak out, and they'll break the economy.

    [AB: Excursus comment from a Christian perspective: I was appalled when I heard that, and also read it in JC's earlier email! It seems so unlike the ways of the Living God who is revealed in Christ! To actually plan to ensure the wrecking the lives of millions of people just to win a contest! OK, there's more to it than that, not least that the USSR was officially atheistic and hence seemingly and Enemy of God and the good. But God did not treat the Roman empire that way. He died in our place in humility that had and has real power. See Competition, Rivalry and Status. However, back to the explanation of Net Assessment, which I guess could be used in better ways too ...]

    # JC: That in a way is a process of understanding how you can control the departmentalization of decisions. And that's a part of NA even. If you understand burocracy, there's always departmentalization on approvals and all that other junk that has to happen for things to move forward. [zb95]
    # But why there are departmentalization activities around certain themes is also part of NA. [zb96]

    [AB: Comment from a Christian perspective: Is not such departmentalization of approvals the result of fear, especially of fear of accountability, and an over-use of rules, a trying to use rules to make people good - which of course has been demonstrated in the Old Testament to not work!! If people's hearts are changed inside, and people "Love Yahweh your God and your neighbour as yourself" then the whole edifice of departmentalization might be unnecessary. A bullshit job!? ]

    # JC: If I just look at war as putting men in a field to shoot you, that's one very small, departmentalized perspective on war. But if I look at war as "How can I use my internal economic activities to exploit weaknesses in your culture?" then I win. That's another aspect of war. No bullets fired, but I still break your economy.
    # AB: Mmmm.
    # JC: I think Andrew Marshall was a gentleman like you. He didn't want any praise. He wrote a paper on what Net Assessment is, and he didn't even share it with his office, because he didn't think it was important, and no-one asked him about it. And so, for five decades, he sat inside the Pentagon, and RAND Corporation, developing all these net assessments, bringing all these brain trusts from Harvard and all these other places, to learn NA. And in 2006, one of his former students was looking through his papers and actually found a a paper that "This is what Net Assessment is." And he went, "Why didn't you share this with anybody!" and he said "No-one asked" [laughter]
    [51.05]

    --- Understanding Dooyeweerd [zb16]

    # JC: AB, if you got a paper laying around saying "This is the easiest way to understand Dooyeweerd," I'm asking for it now. Please give it to me. I'd like to read it!

    [AB: One such is Most of Dooyeweerd In Four Paragraphs. ]

    # AB: Danie Strauss is organising a book with 52 chapters on Dooyeweerd for Dummies. Lots of people involved, and I'm to write a couple of chapters. [several things said about D.S. about how he wants to help people understand Dooyeweerd.]
    # JC: I don't know this person.
    # AB: Are you not on Thinknet? An email discussion group on discussing Dooyeweerd. # JC: Need to be part of that. # AB: [various things about Thinknet] It's very easy to get sucked into the argument.
    # JC: Please send that over to me.
    # Action AB: Thinknet to JC. ***
    [53.40]

    --- Back to Net Assessment [zb17]

    # JC: I have a question for you to help elucidate Net Assessment.
    # Think about your university. How did your university decide to either create or remove academic departments? How did that happen? From your experience, you had enough time to see departments be created, be shuttered, so what were the decisions, and what were the variables they assessed, to look into why they need to close or open new departments?
    # Net assessment would probably provide a good lens as to how to do that in a more appropriate way. or more equitable way, or more effective way, depending on the long-term, over-time priorities of the culture you are working with.
    # NA brings that lens on, to understand the full competitor landscape, understand the entire asset distribution within your organisation and understand how to make incremental movements within departments, so that the overall yield can reach towards a higher goal. [zb97]
    # AB: Right. "How to understand the competitor landscape."

    # AB: Does it [NA] depend on the idea of the 'competitor' or can it be 'collaborator' as well? [zb98]
    # JC: I don't know.
    # AB: The reason I asked is that I see the so-called competitor landscape - the whole idea of competitor is probably 90% evil [AB did not mean quite a strong concept], in terms of the way God intended Creation to work. There is a right kind of competition I think, but to have competition between nations and competition in business is not what God intended. The only good in competition is as a spur to innovation, and so on and so forth.
    # And I see competitiveness as a dysfunction in the ethical aspect. [zb99]
    # And all these sort of things. And I'm still thinking it through.
    # But, if that is the case, and competitiveness is 80-90% not what God intended, then anything that depends on competitiveness is probably on a false foundation, and won't last long, i.e. not 100 years. [zba0]
    # But, if it [Net Assessment] doesn't depend on competitiveness but can also work with collaborativeness, then it probably is reflective of the way Creation is designed to work.

    [AB: See Competition, Rivalry and Status for an exposition of that idea from a Christian perspective. ]

    [57.00]
    # AB: Got the idea? JC: Yes. Very well said.
    # JC: I'm not a professional at this framework. But when you say the idea of collaboration and strategic competition could be seen as sin /

    --- Net Assessment Applied to Helping Us Have More Impact [zb18]

    # If you look into the framework of ideas, then you are very much invested in making sure that the idea that you believe is most mirroring God's sovereignty and God's gloriousness, is the one that you want to promote and push forward. OK? # AB: M-m.
    # JC: So if you take away the idea of a / in your / maybe more exploitative environments of war and market forces and things like that, where you are just trying to exude power, to extrude wealth, or exude power to ex[tr]ude influence / [zba1]
    # Let's look at that exuding influence side of things and say [that] right now, you're working on these papers for the UN. The good that you believe could be done through this is a more creation-minded perspective of economic value and productivity. [zba2]
    # So you are currently, you're in a competition. Because, AB, I bet there are other people who think there are different views of better economic systems and ways to create and trace value. And so you're adding your skill sets to - and all of us wanting to support you - to this drive to having a strategic goal assessed around Dooyeweerd informing long-term national accounts evaluating unpaid labour. And so you're bringing that lens and we're trying to do that in a way, in this small burocracy, which is our work together. [zba3]
    # We see you are the figurehead, you are the person leading this. We ??? support you. So my job is to make sure I provide you [with] the information that is best for you to use, for the goals that we agree upon, [namely] to bring Dooyeweerd and a stronger God-centred perspective of economic activity. [zba4]
    # So that's where we use Assessment. And the competitor landscape is pure value extraction, capitalistic value extraction. That's an idea that I don't agree with, and so I want to do everything I can to diminish that idea's influence and provide this stronger influence. [zba5]

    [AB: I think what JC is saying is that we could see this project, of contributing idea to SNA, can be seen as a 'competition' with other ideas, and that NA could help us have more impact. AB did not fully realise at the time that is what JC was tryihg to say, as is evident from how AB responded next. But later, in emails, AB clarified it with JC that that is what he was trying to say.]

    [59.30]

    --- Academic Life: Competition or Collaboration [zb19]

    # AB: OK, great. Thank you very much. That might indicate / what you seem to be saying there is that there is a good in competition; there's a competition for ideas, and that competition for ideas can actually - I don't think you said this, but it made me think two things, positive and negative. A positive is that the competition for ideas can stimulate the refining of ideas. The negative is, the competition of ideas is - believe me, this happens in academic life - it's personal, it's almost like olympics "I want my idea to win and yours to lose." [zba6]
    # I mean: there are some good academics, especially Christian academics, who actually do welcome all ideas, and have a positive idea of / this ideal of the academic life as moving???contributing [zoom jibbed] towards humanity's body of [attempt to] understand reality.
    # In practice it's - especially at conferences - people are really nasty to each other.
    [01.01.00]

    # JC: Because you've disclosed your own / you've said that the way in which you interact with the world has a name attached to it from the scientific community. Did you ever find yourself in that competitive language, in that competitive trope? Or did you just work on your ideas, work with others, publish work to help generate better ideas, or did you find yourself sucked up into that competitive nature where you have to get Dr B's view on an idea out? [zba7]
    # AB: A bit of both. Right from the beginning, because of my commitment to Christ, I had a possibly-nave idea that we're all in it together, we had this ideal. And I always tried all the time to accept and see the good in everyone's ideas and try to combine them. And this is why I like Dooyeweerd, because it helped me to combine ideas.
    # But sometimes, I found that there was pressure. One way it was, was that I felt very insecure. I would hear of a colleague who got a paper published, and instead of "rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep" I would weep inwardly that he had a paper published and I didn't. Because of my inability to publish papers. And etc. etc. That's the way I saw it.
    # So there's some of the negative.
    # It's brother, if you like, is noted in academic conferences - with a bit of humour, actually - that everyone who goes to an academic conference thinks that everyone else is doing wonderfully, and they are the only person who is failing. [laughter] And everyone puts across their successes and their smiles and so on - the colourful stuff - while at the same time realising that they are not doing as well as the other colourful stuff. [laughter] And deep down, everyone has this failure complex. What's it called? Imposter Syndrome.
    [01.03.42]

    --- Net Assessment and Net Domestic Product?? [zb20]

    # AB: Can I just ask, do you / I'm looking into Net Domestic Product (instead of Gross Domestic Product) which is what WS6 is advocating. And I started trying to understand. And I guess that it's - it at least helps to take account of the depletion of resources, NDP, in a way that GDP doesn't. And possibly that's why I like it.
    # But I'm wondering: Does NDP only do that, or does it also enable us to take account of pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss. I suppose biodiversity loss could be in NDP. But something that is actually harmful, rather than only depletion of a non-renewable resource. Do you know? [zba8]
    # JC: I have a feeling (so you can discount what I am about to say, because I say "I have a feeling") that Net Domestic Product just has to do with devaluation or (what's the term called?) disintegration of value over time to its capital assets. # AB: depreciation? # JC: Thank you, yes.
    # JC: So, Net Assessment [zoom jibbed] deduce.
    # NDP evaluates depreciation as a factor into how to actually show value. And so if I'm putting out 4000 trucks a year, it's not just a blank "All these trucks are the same; they're going to stay the same over ten years." No, they are going to be used, they depreciate. So because it actually as a window of depreciation, there could be an argument, or you could move into: What is the cause of that depreciation? Different things.
    # [Example] Depreciation of real estate on the eastern coast because of climate change is going to be very easy to show over the next 20-30 years. Because the ocean will just take away the land. [zba9]
    # So that depreciation of value is one thing.
    # But there is a way to fuse, I think, the environmental effect into NDP more than GDP.
    # They show signs, like

    [01.07.01]
    # AB: OK, that's great. Thank you very much. That will help me read up about NDP, NNI and all these things. And try to understand. And whether this is indeed, as WS6 suggests, the answer, or whether this is only a partial answer and doesn't cover everything. [zbb0]

    --- End of Meeting [zb21]

    # OK. I have a feeling that will do for today.
    # Is there anything you would like to cover?

    # JC: I don't think I have the papers you sent over to RG. # AB: WS6? # JC: I don't have that. # AB: There's an email where I said "Oops" in the subject line, because I realise that I had sent two copies of WS3, which is a pretty useless paper [Actually AB meant WS2, which is pretty useless; WS3 is very good!] and had not sent WS6, which is the Sustinability and Depletion paper. And so if you look for the one with the Oops in it, that should have WS6.
    # JC: Ah. Thank you. And show me or invite me into the links for that Thinknet, so I can at least observe what people are doing. # AB: Don't allow your time to be wasted on it. # JC: I don't have Facebook; I don't waste time! I don't have the luxury of wasting time any more; I don't. [laughter] # AB: So I'll send you the link so you can register.

    # What I'd like to do, in the next few days, when I've absorbed some of this, is to come back to you and have another conversation with you.
    # JC: Sounds good.
    # AB: Have a look at WS6. Obviously [and sadly!] all the time I have been talking about WS6 and sustainability, it's one of the ones that you haven't read. So I was going to ask you what you made of it!! # JC: I'll read through it.
    # AB: Have a look, because that's the thing that talks about NDP, depletion, and various other things. See what you make of it. And any comments that you make on any of these things: it would be great to have them by email and then because with an email I can think about it and come back to you, and so on. But we might have another zoom or a phone call or something like that.

    # JC: That's good. And I'll go back through my notes on the other papers and get those comments written down and emailed to you. Give me a few days.
    # I really appreciate this, AB. This is my leisure time! This is the most joyous non-working time. So I really appreciate it. Like golf for me. :-)
    # AB: OK, Thanks, JC, and blessings to the whole family. # JC: You too; good bye. # AB: Thank you, Lord.

    ---- end of discussion.

    ----- Aspectual Analysis of Types of Unpaid Activity [zb22]

    WS3 gives a table of types of unpaid activity (Table 2), and here we analyse them. After the table, it makes the point:

    "Although the categories in Table 2 may seem mutually exclusive, as with most statistical definitions, there are cases where certain activities could be classified as multiple different categories of unpaid household work. For example, it could be that informal help to adults in other households could be classed as informal volunteering, or alternatively, it could be classed as adult care. Similarly, some forms of meal preparation may be captured as meal preparation, but equally they could be considered a form of informal care."

    Multiple classification is to be expected, given the idea of aspects as developed by Dooyeweerd, in which all things involve all aspects in principle. So, while aspects as such offer an excellent means of classification, most things may be classified under different aspects (primary, secondary, tertiary, etc.) according to the primary perspective from which the classification is made. In our analysis below, we analyse the types of unpaid activity listed in Table 2 of WS3, offering primary aspects that make each meaningful, then secondary aspects of issues mentioned in their accompanying text. This demonstrates how Dooyeweerd's aspects may be employed to help think things out, and this will be discussed at the end of this section.

    Childcare. "Unpaid childcare captures the time provided by care givers in the direct care of children." Care has the ethical aspect as its primary, but in the case of children there is usually a biotic aspect too when the children are the offspring of the carers. "This can range from helping with homework {lingual, formative} to feeding {biotic, aesthetic}, washing {physical, biotic} or dressing children {aesthetic}." We might also add: play {aesthetic}, justice {juridical}, love {ethical}, and affirming their worth {pistic} because these final four aspects help to form the character of the child from an early age.

    Adult care. Primary aspects: ethical and social aspects. "Unpaid adult care captures activities where individuals are providing informal healthcare {biotic} services to an adult, for example changing bandages or dressings {physical} or other medical assistance. It can also include activity where an individual helps another adult by carrying out their cleaning, mowing their lawn or other voluntary tasks {formative} on their behalf. ... it may also be provided to those who are potentially terminally ill and need long-term care {pistic, because it affirms the dignity of the person even though they might be of little economic value, including their relationship with God / Eternity}."

    On care in general.

    WS3 classifies care into two kinds, active and passive. "Active care is activity where the primary focus of the care giver is care. Alternatively, passive care is described as time where a person is in the duty of care of a caregiver but the care giver may not consider care their main focus." This may align with Dooyeweerd's distinction between the uni-focus on identified, intended aspects that is characteristic of theoretical thought (and maybe engineering and professional duty, etc.), and everyday life, in which every aspect is important, woven together in a way in which they are all invisible, and tacit knowing [Polanyi] and skill of living become important. Examples WS3 gives includes being present {spatial, social aspects} overnight. Another is when the adult involves the child in their work {formative aspect}, with the child observing {analytical} and even taking small parts therein {formative}; this offers love and dignity {ethical, pistic}.

    It might be no coincidence that all four are post-economic aspects, so that they impinge on and impact, and should guide and regulate the economic activity and decisions, yet economic rationality and laws on their own know nothing of these.

    Nutrition. Biotic aspect mainly. "Unpaid nutrition services include meal or drink production {formative} time, where it may be reasonable to expect that you could choose to order an alternative meal or drink from a market service {economic}."

    Transport. Kinematic aspect, with a secondary aspect giving purpose to it, e.g. social, economic (e.g. logistics), aesthetic (e.g. for pleasure). WS3 also draws attention to "where an individual transports themselves as opposed to paying for transport" - but maybe this is not easily assigned a secondary aspect and is purely kinematic, yet it is important to account for this in national accounts.

    For the remainder, our aspectual analysis will be briefer. But we will begin to add some indications of how Dooyeweerd can help sort out problems in classification and interpretation.

    Household management services. Primary aspect: formative. "... leisure task {aesthetic}, ... administrative tasks {formative} which are carried out online {lingual} ..."

    Laundry and clothing services. Primarily physical. "... cleaning {biotic}, ironing and drying {physical}, ... repair {economic} ..." Note: economic aspect here refers to its central norm of frugality, not finance.

    Formal volunteering. Primary: Ethical for volunteering, formative-social for formal.

    WS3 recommends that formal volunteering (defined as undertaken through "a charity or not for profit organisation") be not included in unpaid work, but it is not entirely clear why, and the wording is unclear. There seem to be nuances in Table 2, which might indicate an exception to that recommendation (e.g. "household to household transfer of services only organised by a central organisation") but the wording of the text obscures this, and the summary recommendation obliterates it. So we recommend that the category of "formal volunteering" be rethought and reworded. Dooyeweerd's aspects can help with this. Where the volunteering activity

    Informal volunteering. Primary aspect: ethical. Secondary social because "Where no organisation is involved, households providing voluntary services to other households are performing 'informal' volunteering."

    On that basis, WS3 suggests "This activity may also be classified as adult care". The "overlap" between them may be seen as both having the ethical aspect as primary and also the social aspect.

    However, WS3 recognises that the overlap is not total, because "There may also be the case where services are performed for the environment or nature {biotic} as opposed to for the benefit of other households {social} ..." This difference may be justified by reference to their secondary aspects. Dooyeweerd here helps with separating out issues that were in danger of being muddled.

    Shopping. Multiple purposes, with different primary aspects. Either economic when its purpose is provisioning, or aesthetic when its purpose is leisure. There can also be a social element when done with friends. Online shopping has a secondary lingual aspect, which enables the main purpose. Here, Dooyeweerd helps reveal conflated into a category of different kinds.

    Information services. Primary: lingual. WS3 suggest that "The key criteria which defines whether the information produced is of value is whether the consumers of the information could have used a paid service for similar information." However, this assumes that the paid service already exists, which it might not.

    For example, might access to Wikipedia be made invisible by this? Although WS3 suggests that people might "buy an encyclopaedia" as an alternative to Wikipedia, how likely is this, especially in poorer households? Does not Wikipedia actually increase the global total of information-sharing far beyond that which priced encyclopedias did?

    WS3 has not properly understood what is going there. So, instead, we suggest thinking of the value inherent in the lingual activity of informing and reading as a lingual functioning (as distinct from entertainment, which is aesthetic). Dooyeweerd helps with understanding the core of the issue and suggesting a different approach to value-setting.

    Other unpaid household production not elsewhere classified. "It is feasible that the above list is not exhaustive and hence an 'other' category is recommended to ensure that a complete accounting of unpaid household service work." Dooyeweerd's aspects can help point to missing categories. Of the primary aspects several are missing, such as aesthetic, juridical and pistic. Unpaid activities that have these as primary might include:

    We might also notice the scarcity of the post-aesthetic aspects in the secondary aspects above, juridical, ethical and pistic; this may stimulate us to ask ourselves imaginatively about the extent to which they might be relevant. A couple of examples of how they might be relevant are given in relation to unpaid care, above.

    Finally, Dooyeweerd can help rectify some heterogeneity in the classification, and suggest alternative classifications. If categories were centred on primary aspects that make them meaningfulness, such as the ethical in the case of care and volunteering, and further subdivided according to other important aspects (e.g. child care, adult care, volunteering for nature) then perhaps better categories might emerge. Two advantages of an aspect-oriented approach are that (a) Dooyeweerd's aspects are cross-cultural, (b) each aspect poses different challenges to valuation and hence requires different methods of doing so, so the appropriate methodologies for measurement and valuation can be clearly distinguished.

    "It is not the purpose of this guidance note," states WS3, "to define these categories of unpaid household service work as fixed and internationally agreed upon. Rather, the categories above serve as an illustration of how unpaid household services can be categorized, and also what types of activity may fall within the boundary when applying the third party criterion. // However, when such categories are formalised, it should be recognised that there is a diverse user base for unpaid household service work statistics and hence the appropriate sub-divisions of types of unpaid household service should be suitably diverse to meet those needs." We suggest that Dooyeweerd's aspects can offer a systematic way by which the categorization of unpaid activity can be carried out. Given that, when rightly understood, Dooyeweerd's aspects apply across cultures, they would prove excellent for use by all nations, developed or developing, and whatever culture of religion has shaped them.

    End of Section.


    Compiled from raw notes and recording by Andrew Basden, 1 September 2021. Last updated: