Yes, time is MONEY, but how much MONEY?
By Comrade Controversy
In this piece I will attempt to tell you exactly what the monetary value of time is. Before getting carried away with defining time as money let us get its proper definition out of the way. Time is not a physical object that you can interact with using your senses. You cannot touch it or smell. You can see a clock telling you what time it is, but you are looking at a clock not time itself. This is the reason why when you travel to another part of the world you need to adjust your clock, because time is independent of your clock. Your clock is not time.
In his 1988 book, A brief History of Time, we learn from Stephen Hawking that the beginning of time, our time at least, is related to the big bang, and that there would not have been time without space, the universe and its celestial bodies. Without getting too technical it is enough to understand that our time has a history. It is a measured in terms the combination of the earth’s rotation on its axis, where a complete rotation is called a day, and the complete rotation of the earth around the sun, which is called a year. The day contains the units hours, minutes, seconds, milliseconds etc. There are roughly 365 days in a year and 24 hours in a day. A month is a measurement of time consisting of between 28 and 31 days. Again, there is a long history to months and different calendar systems. For convenience we will stick with our simple January to December calendar.
Time is important because it is the unit of measurement by which you are told when to go to work or school and when to leave, and how much of it you need to finish your degree or earn your monthly salary, which again is completely dependent on the passage of time. Consultants, lawyers and other specialists have the luxury of being able to charge for their services per unit of time, usually an hour. Time is all around us. We cannot escape it. Convicted criminals are punished using time as a measure of their punishment. More time equates to more severe punishment, even if all other variables were held constant.
You cannot, may not, drink alcohol or drive a vehicle until the earth has gone around the Sun at least 18 times since you were born. In principle anyway. Given the manner in which time affects everything, time cannot be excluded from any reality, because every event has a time appointment or time stamp. Time is therefore not just money. Time is everything you imagine it to be, and money happens to be one of those things.
Now the question we have all been waiting for. What is time worth? Time is an abstract of the earth’s rotation on its axis and around the sun. The value of time surely should be an abstract of either the value of the sun, or earth or both. Let us leave the sun out of it because it is beyond our reach and, frankly it is worth a lot more than can be printed and has been for all of its 4.6 billion years of existence. Let us also leave out of the equation the value of the earth’s rotation around the sun as a gift from the gravitational pull of the sun, which object we have already ruled out of our calculations. That leaves us with the earth. What is it worth exactly as a composite piece of real estate? Again, that is impossible to print. Even if we could do a proper valuation its unlikely we could find alien clients to sell it to in order to settle our debts.
Here we go. In 2019 the world’s Gross Domestic Product was estimated at R87.2 trillion dollars. This is a relevant measure of value, which is also time bound. It measures moving parts, exactly in line with time. In short, a day on earth is worth about US$240 billion. An hour on earth is worth US$10 billion dollars. A minute on earth is worth about US$167 million. Think about this next time before you give your precious minute to someone. You may wish to argue that you do not have a fair share of the GDP. Nice try. That is not how time works, if we think of time as money. Time says that there are 24 hours in a day. This is good for one person and for all 7.8 billion people on earth. It is indivisible. Not to be obstinate, if time were equally divisible it would be worth US$1.28 per hour for every person alive on earth or US$30 a day. This is about R520 a day. This however is misleading as the true value of time is 10 billion US dollars an hour.
Let us value our time and use it wisely. If you were to buy it back, you would certainly not be able to afford it. Time is a lot of money!
By Comrade Controversy
14 June 2020
Comrade Controversy writes in his personal capacity. Post comments below.