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Memories of the 28th Century

Time and Money

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I recently commented using the old saw "Time is Money", and the person I was speaking to disagreed. While the two are not identical, they have equivalency; one can be converted to the other as a general matter.

"The phrase was coined by Benjamin Franklin in his Advice to a Young Tradesman (1748): Remember that time is money. He that idly loses five shillings' worth of time loses five shillings, and might as prudently throw five shillings into the sea."
Further searching showed me that the concept has been around since Ancient times, at least as far back as 453 BCE, when Antiphon the Athenian coined a similar aphorism.

I am glad that I found it earlier. I can imagine a Sumerian craftsman saying it (in Sumerian) more than six thousand years ago. A worker of any level trades his (or her) time for money (or its equivalent) in some form. It may be presumed that something will be produced, but production is a result of several things flowing together. All the tools, facilities, raw materials, and energy don't result in anything without the worker's time.

The actual phrase was recorded in 1719 in the magazine The Free-Thinker
Antiphon (ca. 430 BC) of ancient Greece used "the most costly outlay is time."

I remember somebody having called me several years ago to try to recruit me to sell insurance on straight commission. I didn't want to explain how that kind of insurance was a scam, so I simply said that I would have to be paid; my time is worth something. He tried to explain how my time is worthless unless he made money from it. I just laughed. If you want me to use my time for you, then you have to pay for it. Maybe his time was worthless, but mine isn't.

When someone or something wastes my time, I think of how I might win back a similar value. A couple of years ago I was trying to take a local bus to pick up a prescription, and the bus took off early. I am of the opinion that public transportation should be careful about that. It is inevitable that schedules will slip so things may be late, but in a fixed schedule there is never any excuse for something to go off early, and that's what I told the manager of the bus company. He had the nerve to not apologize for wasting my time until the next bus. I was compelled to comment that just because his time is worthless doesn't mean that my time is worthless. That's what I try to let others know, when they steal or waste my time.

Until I get a truly effective time machine and a grant of eternal life from Zeus and eternal youth from Hebe, I will consider any waste of my time to be the same as stealing money from me. But I regularly use my time in ways that some people would consider work without receiving money in exchange. That is because there are many other things that can be equivalent to money in paying for time, those include personal satisfaction, love, anticipation, intangible advancement toward goals, and other similar things.

This brings up the matter of value and what it is. I won't go through that, but all kinds of value come back to Value in Use, something is worth what it can be used for or to do. Even exchange is a use, so barter and cash or credit transactions are examples of the utility value of something being expressed through what someone is willing to exchange for it.


While trying to find ancient examples of the epigram, I found some really great ancient quotes that I feel compelled to share:
For example, Aesop was acquainted with Trump
"We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office." -- Aesop
Plato was also acquainted with Trump:
"When there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income." -- Plato

"Republics decline into democracies and democracies degenerate into despotisms." -- Aristotle. Aristotle was regarded as the most learned man ever for thousands of years, and this revelation is a reason why such respect was deserved.
"Society is well governed when its people obey the magistrates, and the magistrates obey the law." -- Solon