Back in October I posted about the Justin Timberlake movie, In Time. The post was based on what I could glean from the trailers. An economy based on time and not money was the central focus.
Almost four months later I have finally seen the movie. I’m not a movie critic but as a movie I might give it 3 out of 5 stars. The acting was average, the stunts were low budget, and the story line was unbelievable at times. As a concept, it was exceptional.
The correlation between the movies time-based economy and the current economical struggles of the world are readily apparent. In the movie the “rich” are those who have a great deal of time. The more time, the more prestige, the more power. Not just hundreds of years but thousands or, as in the case of the central antagonist, over a million years. Far and away more years than can ever possibly be worthwhile except for the purpose of eternal life. The world is divided into zones based on how much time you have. Zone 12 is the ghetto, Dayton. Zone 1 is New Greenwich. In order to cross time zones the price gets more and more expensive. Those in New Greenwich are very protective of their time and comfortable in the fact that they will live forever unless they die while taking a risk. The wealthiest are constantly protected by guards. In Dayton, the people are much more apt to share their time. The “Time Line,” much like a bread line, is simply a gentleman who gives away as much time as he can. In this time zone it is a gift to have a year’s worth of time. Most people wake up with enough time to make it to the next day. Earning time by working and trying to waste none throughout the day is how they continually survive.
The zones are very tightly controlled by the timekeepers. They know how much time is in each zone and react whenever the time becomes unbalanced. Since it would be impossible for everyone to live forever, the central government controls inflation and interest rates. If too many people in the upper time zones survive, the interest rates and daily costs increase so that more people die.
In the most telling scene of the movie Phillipe Weis, the millionaire, says that not everyone can be immortal; some people must die and Will Salas, Justin Timberlake, responds that if even one person must die then no one should be immortal.
Now, take that whole synopsis and replace the word time with the word money. Do our economies function to keep the poor poor? Do people in our ghettos wake up every morning with just enough to get through the day and wake up the next day back at square one? Do the prevailing interest rates and inflation keep citizens from improving their lives? Are there people who have more money than they will ever need, grossly disproportionate amounts of money? Is the goal of the Occupy Movement to balance the economy?
In the movie Henry Hamilton, the gentleman who gifts Will with a century, writes on the window, “Don’t waste my time.” The time analogy is not lost on me. Time is all we have. The correlation to money is a poignant reminder. When money is time we have lost our balance.