Time is Money

Of all the cliches one encounters regularly, “time is money” may be the one uttered most frequently and with the largest degree of conviction, particularly by people who charge by the hour. The concept is that the two are interchangeable. After all one IS the other.

If only it were so. Our maniacal pursuit of money might mean something if more lucre meant increased time — time to live and love and learn. In fact, it’s often the opposite. More money means less time for that which makes life worth living and additional hours spent toiling.

Cryogenics and other pseudo-sciences attempt to lengthen existence, in effect investing money to purchase more time on Earth. But thus far no one has come up with a reliable way to exchange dollars for minutes. If so, fellows like Bill Gates could look forward to being around hundreds of years from now, when China — or India — probably will be the world’s only superpower and America is again a fruitful colony of a much more important nation.

We may attempt to measure our usefulness to the economy in terms of time-based wages. But to confuse money with time is to fundamentally misunderstand that which matters and that which doesn’t.

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