Universal concepts of time - Time is money – A costly concept
"If time is money, it seems moral to save time, above all one's own, and such parsimony is excused by consideration for others. One is straight-forward." Theodor Adorno
Some researchers have taken the phrase “time is money” to heart. In 2002, a British economics professor, Ian Walker, used a certain equation to find the average British minute to be worth about 10 pence (15 cents) to men and 8 pence (12 cents) to women. The formula he used is the following:
- Where V is an hour’s value
- W is a person's hourly wage
- t is the tax rate
- C is the local cost of living
Walker’s findings concentrated largely on the relationship between working and wages. When the values of the variables are known, the equation can be used to find out if a certain person is getting paid a fair amount for their overtime or, from another perspective, how much money their leisure time is worth. According to Walker, this equation can help explain many other things as well: ‘“It helps us understand that as the value of our time rises, we are likely to buy more of it, which explains why people are paying to save time, like having someone cut their lawn or clean their house’” (“Time is Money, Professor Proves”). The equation serves an interesting purpose: it equates every moment of our lives with a monetary value. Is this how we wish to view our lives?
Benjamin Franklin once said in his writings: “Remember that TIME is money” (“Advice to a Young Tradesman”). When Benjamin Franklin wrote this in the mid-eighteenth century, he was attempting to warn his readers of the perils of wasting time or spending time idly. Today when someone uses the phrase “time is money” they are usually referring to one of two things:
- either that if you waste time, nothing productive will come of your efforts, or
- if you want to earn more money, you have to put in more time on the job.
When Benjamin Franklin used the phrase, he was driven by a desire to make himself a better man, and share his advice with others. Today, the phrase “time is money” is often thought to be driven by greed. It seems to imply that the most important use of time is that time can be used to make more money. Many people don't agree with this however. In fact, author Juliet B. Schor sums up this feeling quite well in her book called The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure. She presents her ideas on this topic in the following quote from her book:
It is often said that an economist is a person who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. On the question of time, we may all have become economists. We are keenly aware of the price of time—the extra income earned at a second job, the wage and a half for an hour of overtime. In the process, we may have forgotten the real worth of time. (Schor 139)
People around the world should consider looking at time in their own individual way, instead of looking at it through the scrutinizing eyes of an economist, so that we can determine for ourselves what the real worth of time is.