What elapsed time means, money means

Time is money: what does that actually mean?

An economic order only works if you agree on standards for the exchange of goods - one of the most important standards is time. That was already the case for the early hunters and gatherers, but we gave nature's rough schedules an “upgrade” in the wake of the industrial revolution. Today we are able to manage and monetize time much more precisely. Time, money and power - they are inextricably linked.

Studies show, for example, that economic upswing is always related to the prevailing speed in a region. The faster, the richer. All over the world, a higher basic pace is measured in places with a flourishing economy: people in the affluent countries of North America, Northern Europe and Asia live in a different “time zone” than, say, residents of the Third World. And not just geographically!

Cause and effect are not clearly clarified: Just as speed can lead to prosperity, prosperity also leads to higher speed. For example, if wages rise in a city, it means that the workers' time is worth more. A worker who experiences the value of his time will treat it differently (“more profit-oriented”). At the same time, the cost of living increases with the per capita income, so that an efficient use of one's own working time becomes necessary. The pace is increasing, life is becoming more hectic.

Saving time leads to a lack of time

In addition: the more developed a society, the less free time. Actually absurd, but with time-saving technologies (be it assembly line or washing machine) we lose more idle hours than we gain. The ability to get things done faster simply means that we can do more in the time available - the expensive technical acquisition must be profitable!

In highly developed industrial nations in particular, this connection between time and money has become so strong that it has a profound impact on our lives. Small comparison: In the Middle Ages there were an average of 115 vacation days per year in Europe. (But no dentistry and no healthy teeth. So we don't want to go back there ...)

We also work in our free time - and don't even notice it

The time is therefore the basis of our work. It helps us to be effective. But that comes at a price. People with a fast pace of life are also less willing to help those in need. Instead, we help companies maximize profits - often without even realizing it. We work all the time, even in our free time: we scan the goods ourselves at the supermarket checkout, we spend hours booking our vacation online (instead of leaving this work to a travel agency), we screw tables together for a well-known Swedish furniture manufacturer. All of this is done in the belief that it will save money - but we still pay. With our time.

The French sociologist and author Marie-Anne Dujarian is very critical of this: “In a way, our time is stolen from us. Many companies today view consumers as an unlimited, motivated, and free workforce. This increases your productivity, but not our quality of life. "

For Dujarians, the equation “time is money” certainly applies. However, in a more stringent interpretation: our time is other people's money.