Sunday, May 15, 2011

on the simple economics of time

Why do we waste time? this is a question posed by every facebook-loving, twitter following, blog-hopping young adult. we frequently hear the complaint 'i don't have enough time', to be followed by 'there's so much time i don't know what to do' and  then 'urghh, i wish i could have used my time wisely.'

So to prevent from wasting your time any longer with digressing dialogues, i will illustrate by using the most simplified way of explaining human beings: economics graphs.

Let's say you have a supply of time, and a demand for time. The point at which supply equals demand will be the equilibrium price and quantity, as shown in the diagram below (i feel like im doing an A Levels Economics essay -.-), where equilibrium price is P0.

Let's say something happens, for example we receive an email saying that our forgotten assignment is due tomorrow! so now we have less time for other things, so supply of time contracts as in the diagram below

When there is less of something, its price/value goes up. simple. when there is less sugar in the market due to hoarding, its price rises. When there is less transparency, the price of oil goes up. Similarly when we have lots of time, time is apparently cheap like water, so we tend to throw it around. But when we have less time,it becomes very valuable, and suddenly we realize that tomorrow is our managerial accounting paper *gulp*

And then time becomes

A giant crocodile that gobbles up everything and now we regret having a facebook account and not being serious about our purpose in life.

What does the quran say about time?

"By Al-'Asr (the time). Verily! Man is in loss, Except those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth, and recommend one another to patience." (Al 'Asr:1-3)

Man is in loss, because if he believes and do righteous good deeds, then he won't have time for other things. time is not cheap.

Maybe that's the heart of a believer. For him, death is near, and time is in perpetual shortage, so every second is as valuable as can be.