Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Time in Dollars

Time is Money. The statement is so simple, yet unimaginably complex. Imagine that money is literally just the means to store and transfer human time. I am here to propose just that. From the first overproduction of rice in the east arose trading routes that allowed a more efficient collaboration amongst humans. One group could produce all the rice for another group, while the other could guarantee both a defense. Time saved. Money can purchase either time saving objects or time enriching objects. This means that the means by which they acquired the money can be transferred inefficiently or efficiently back into the time from which it was produced. The grain purchased allows me to continue to eat, to continue to survive, to continue living in time. A car allows me to save hours, even days of walking. A purchase of art, however, signifies that I must have all other survival necessities secured, or I am hopelessly misunderstanding the reality of the situation. The art is purchased because it positively affects me in some way. Even if I bought it just to satisfy a partner, that satisfaction is generated because I enjoy my partner's satisfaction. Furthermore, that satisfaction requires that the person satisfied has the time to do so. If he is running from a lion, or starving to death, no such satisfaction could come to mind. If this argument is sufficient; if one might accept that money buys either of these two things, then the following can be deduced. Economics is a science of trading human time and human enjoyment of that time, since money is nothing but such a clever rearrangement. This poses many problems but should reveal itself if some tensions felt in our free market, since it is an amoral science.


When you take an amoral science and mix it with human value (time), there is an inherent tension. One must try to reconcile this when he decides to close a plant because it makes economic sense. It does not make caring sense, not for the hard working families that are being left out to hang. It is the correct economic choice, just as letting big business fail is the right economic choice. The Free Market dictates that if the auto industry in America was allowed to fail, then it would have either recovered, or European manufacturers would have stolen the share. We would be fine, probably without feeling too much a hit at home (since there are plenty of used cars floating around to re-buy and sell).This, however, does not take into account all of the human suffering that will take place under such a closing. This must be the feeling that the representative Thaddeus McCotter from Detroit felt, after criticizing the Wall Street bail-out for so long, then heading up the auto bailout. It was no longer an economic concern; it was a human suffering concern (and perhaps a re-election concern). Even if it was merely a re-election concern, it is still an admission of the suffering of the community. The free market does not include morals, and as such, does not aim to relieve human suffering in its wake. Perhaps that is the attraction I have towards true democratic communism, that the system is moral first, with recognition that money is just a representation of time and enjoyment. This seems to make more sense from a natural perspective, as the aim of forming social contracts (nations) was to provide the survival of individual humans, and presumably with the least amount of suffering as is possible. What has happened, however, is that not everyone is surviving, and rather, there are those with not nearly enough time or money to really enjoy anything, while there are those others with nothing but time on their hands. Even more peculiar, are those power people who have all the money and time they could hope for, yet still strive to acquire more money and power, but why. The idea of having money is concurrent with the idea of it providing time to enjoy life and the extra money, yet they sock away those stored hours, waiting for death and taxes. I think this is rooted in a deeper evolved sense of selfish greed, but that is a topic for another discussion. Money is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Time and enjoyment of that time seems to me to be the end.

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