Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Needed: A Better Balance for Time Value

One of the striking features regarding time value in the present, is that too much value is assigned to the nature of one's position in the marketplace - limited though the "appropriate" positions tend to be. All too often, time value in multiple aspects of life, is judged by one's current level of economic access. As to the "fortunate": even though being in demand is a desirable state of affairs, highly valued individuals are more likely to feel that their time is "not their own".

These imbalances in the marketplace translate into imbalance in personal life, as well. One's time may be sought out more frequently by family, friends and colleagues than they can meaningfully reciprocate. Even though money takes care of many issues and problems, it cannot give anyone the time that constantly feels in short supply, as the quote below suggests:
The greatest gift you can give someone is your time. Because when you give your time, you are giving a portion of your life that you will never get back.
In part due to the lack of a marketplace for time, knowledge based services tend to be highly compensated, for the years of preparation and training they involve. There are tremendous opportunity costs for many careers - costs which have only grown in recent decades. Consider society's frequent appeals to these individuals, to be as "giving" as possible. For most with sufficient economic access, it is actually easier to be generous with one's money than with one's time. But then stop to consider the paradox in this regard, for those with little money. Even though many among the marginalized have time to spare, they are not often asked to help others.

While it may not be logical to expect the marginalized to help others financially, many still desire to help people in other capacities. When their assistance is refused or otherwise disregarded, they have good reason to question the value of their worth. As a result, there is tremendous imbalance, in terms of the time value which could exist, and the time value people have become willing to accept, based on status. For those who seek assistance, sometimes it is "safe" to wait for the "right" person to help. But when many need help - yet only a relative few have the "appropriate" status - too many are left without lifeboats, should the ship veer too close to the rocks.

A marketplace for time value, would restore balance to the time that individuals have for one another, and what individuals would be willing to accept from one another. Time arbitrage would have tremendous benefits in terms of social mobility and economic access. Some - fortunately - remain aware that countless individuals could still be tapped for their skills capacity, given the chance. Consider this quote from Ronald Reagan, years earlier:
We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone.

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