For my class in Christian Ethics some years ago, I had to read the book, The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, by Max Weber. It is one of those books from the early part of the 20th Century ( I’m talking 1904-5) that can depress a thinking person because it shows that people were aware of the direction our world has been headed in forever and chose not to do anything about it out of fear of loss or just plain old greed or unconsciousness. Well, I am not going to tell you everything the book said. I’m assuming you do not come to this blog for the pictures, so you can follow the link above and read it yourself if you want to get the whole deal. I’m just going to throw out what I considered the most important point that I would like to refute because I think it is what has allowed us to create an economy based on a lie. In love, I am putting this out here for people to scratch their heads and decide if they want to continue to live under illusion. The following is the bulk of what I posted in my class:
In reviewing Weber’s thesis on capitalism, I am able to see the deep influence that the “time is money” ideology has on the current American version of capitalism. In quoting Benjamin Franklin, Weber attempts to offer a distinct vision of the traditional capitalism for the purpose of analysis. How simpler can it get than “time is money”? You work a certain amount of TIME, you receive a certain amount of money. You loan out money and if it is not returned to you in a certain amount of TIME, the amount owed to you increases. If you are a borrower and you do not return the money within a certain amount of TIME, your debt increases. The calculations can be fairly simple and in an ideal world this system can contribute to productivity and prosperity for all. But what puts a kink in the system for me, is the idea that if one chooses not to work more hours than necessary to meet their needs, then that means that they are losing money whenever they are not dedicating time to its pursuit.
As I look at what we label an economic crisis, what I see is a crisis of valuation. When we monetize time we create a value system that breeds the idea that everything in life that takes time must have a corresponding dollar value. i.e. If I believe my time is worth $25 per hour, then 3 hours with my family costs me $75. If I do not feel like what we do together is worth $75 then I may feel cheated and have a sense that I either deserve a refund or some other way of recouping my loss. The monetizing of time creates a sense of entitlement which tells people they deserve to be compensated for their time on earth and consequently, if they do not achieve what they consider their monetary equivalent for their time, they will feel themselves to be lacking in some way. In a lot of cases, credit is a means of compensating for that apparent lack. This is another tremendous factor in the so-called economic crisis.
The belief that credit is money is one sided and therefore equally false. For people who do not use credit for business purposes, it only turns out to be the absence of money. The idea that credit is money deceives people who feel like they automatically deserve money for their time. In reality, credit is never money. At best, it is a man made version of grace with regard to debt. The belief that credit is money led many people to overextend themselves. They could not wait for the time it would take to work in order to afford purchases such as houses and cars. They lived beyond their means and as a consequence, the foundation upon which the American economy has been sustaining itself has cracked. When people are taught to believe that their value and the value of everything that takes time is measured in dollars, the people who do not have money always lose.
It is true that time is valuable in this world, but it is not money. If time were money, then they could be evenly exchanged with one another. I know that there is a Justin Timberlake movie out called In Time where time actually is money. I’m interested in seeing how they pull that off, but in real life, when your time is up, that’s it. You can’t say to God, how much more time can I get for a bazillion dollars. You’ll be dead and some other person who believes this lie will be dancing around thinking that they just received all the time in the world. Blah blah blah… You get it! Anyway, stop living a lie. If you think someone owes you something because you were born–STOP!!! Everyone was born. Woopity do. Our value that we bring to the world is not in being born, it is in truly living. That’s what gives time it’s value–not dollars. So figure out what you value in truth and start dedicating some time to that and share the abundance of your gifts with others because that’s where you’ll find a little piece of joy in this life of vanity.
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for one who loves another has fulfilled the law.