Tag Archives: time

Dilbert’s Salary Theorem

Dilbert‘s “Salary Theorem” states:

“Scientists and Engineers can never earn as much as administrators and sales people.”

This theorem can now be proved mathematically:

Given:

Power = Work / Time and,
Knowledge is Power

Substituting knowledge for power, we obtain:

Knowledge = Work/ Time

If time = money, then:

Knowledge = Work/ Money

Solving this equation for money, we obtain:

Money = Work/ Knowledge

Therefore, as knowledge approaches zero, money approaches infinity, regardless of the amount of work done.

Conclusion: the less you know, the more you make.

(I’d like to give credit to the original author of this gem, but so far the origin of this saga remains unknown – if you know, please tell!)

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Currency: Time instead of Money?

The Spanish are doing an interesting experiment: In Spain They Swap Money for Time, essentially allowing time-banks.

While the article (IMHO incorrectly) wonders whether there is anything anti-capitalist about the ideas (I don’t think they are), there is nothing intrinsically wrong  with using a different currency to money. The problem typically lies with governments, which rely on

  1. skimming economic value-add activity (sales tax, GST, VAT, BTW, MwS, etc) to raise revenue;
  2. applying monetary controls, usually exerted by an independent central bank.

So the actual issues that need to be resolved are really quite funky. Of course you can give and charge interest on time, and you can tax it – but the taxing does not immediately translate into government revenue. If you wish to maintain a form of sales tax, then either people will have to owe the government a fraction of their time, or there needs to be a conversion to money.

If the government were a participant in the same time-economy, it could use the “time revenue” it raises to get things done, either directly (same people doing part-time work for the community) or indirectly (time “spent” through other companies in the system).

While money is not a necessity for an economy to work, it is a convenience – a convertable/neutral common currency. Having multiple currencies is generally not liked by governments as it affects their control, regardless of the merits. Just think of countries where the USD or EUR is the effective currency because the local one has become worthless (with huge inflation problems). Either that, or barter-style trade tends to pop up when countries are in tough economic times. People do what is practical to get by. But if authorities choose to actively allow/promote this activity and adjust the government processes to work with it, I think it can be made to work.

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Educational Song Lyrics

The Exception by Eddie Reader. The second verse:

The workaholic millionaire and his pretty younger wife
Had everything there was out there in the ad mans perfect life
But she left him for the milkman and then moved into his flat
Everyone said silly girl to do a thing like that
The house, the cars, the credit cards but he didn’t ask her why
He knows that there’s some things even cash can’t buy
Oh yes he thought he’d be the exception
Oh yes he thought he’d be the exception
But don’t we all think we’re the exception
Sometimes, sometimes

Of course, The Beatles sang about this long ago in “Can’t Buy Me Love” (1964) on their A Hard Day’s Night album.

It’s kinda obvious, and of course relates to happiness in general as much as love specifically, but we often forget and chase money with a ridiculous number of working hours. Consequently you’ll miss out on a life now, and not only be stuck later with the monster you built, but possibly also lose things in your life that you really care about.

I’ve had people tell me “oh I’ll just work 80+ hours a week this year, so I can take it easy from next year.” - I’m still waiting for any of them to accept my bet that in twelve months they’ll still be working 80+ hours, if not more – they already know they’re really deluding themselves!

What they’re doing is building business processes that presume that they’re working those hours and occupying various critical spots in operations, and that’s one aspect of the monster I referred to above. You get what you build, so if you want it different, build it differently.

By the way, do you know how children spell love? T I M E.

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