Civilized life would be unimaginable without weights and measures. We have measures for liquids and solids, area and lengths, temperature and most essentially, time.
What we can't – or don't – measure, is work. So anarchy rules. Employees demand more money for the same work, producers want higher prices for the same goods and services. And money, our essential, universal trading medium, gradually loses its value.
Is our money really so baseless, so meaningless that we can simply and with impunity demand more money for the same work or the same product or the same service? Yes it is. And the result is inflation.
Money, which should act as a store of value, is universally scorned as a savings medium, leading to speculation, largely in housing. And the longterm effects on the economy are seriously damaging. Economic growth can never be maximized, for growth leads to wage and price increases – inflation – which central banks limit with higher lending rates, thus leading inevitably to recession.
A standard system of work measurement linked to remuneration would give value, meaning and stability to money. And it's all possible. In fact the groundwork is already well laid. There are at present several systems of work and job evaluation offered by different specialist companies, used extensively by large corporations and government departments, though the majority of smaller companies rely on negotiation, either amicable or otherwise.
The establishment of a national standard, applicable at all levels and incorporating a maximum remuneration differential between top and bottom earners would create a climate of economic stability, and the industrial peace of social justice.
But pay has value only in terms of its purchasing power. A limit on profits would provide a link between production cost and price. Increases in individual industrial, and overall national productive efficiency would then be reflected in lower prices. Firms translating the benefits of productivity-increases into lower prices will benefit directly through increased sales, with further cost savings from more productive use of equipment, and an enhanced competitive edge.
And a range of price reductions across the economic spectrum in line with the overall national productivity-increase will be reflected in a corresponding rise in overall purchasing power and living standards.
The results would be seen in full employment and monetary stability, with a high level of productive efficiency reflected in a continuing fall in the cost of living and a parallel increase in overall prosperity. And money would at last fulfill one of its two essential functions: it would act as a store of value.