The Concept of Bartering as Adapted by the Film In Time, and Its Implications. HAS 2013 Prices, Values, and Money Contents 1 Introduction of the characteristics of the genres thriller, action, and drama, making it fairly complex and capable of providing several different perspectives as well as various points of analysis, from the general plot to the greater cultural backgrounds. The film centers on the concept of time being utilized as the primary currency in a modernized world which is set a century ahead of the present.
Due to intentional genetic engineering money is no longer available in the material form used in today’s society, but has been replaced by time, which can be exchanged for other goods or forms of labor. The actual value of this new type of currency is undeniably not purely symbolic as is the case with today’s form of money, but it is innately linked to the length of one’s own lifetime. Precisely this linkage is what relates this financial concept to that of bartering, and the adaptation of which will be the main topic – alongside with its societal implications – of this paper.
Generally speaking the aim of this paper is to study a different conceptualization of exchange – regardless of its unrealistic possibility of enforceability – through an analysis of the concept of time being used as a substitute for money as presented in the film In Time, comparing it with the Aristotelian concept of bartering in an attempt to categorize and define the principles of this alternative form of exchange and its effect on the economy.
Following this topic the paper will draw on Aristotle concept of liberality, which is also of importance within the film, inflation as such, and a short analysis of the social class system created by a fictional society run by time. These points should provide further understanding of today’s system of exchange, hills enforcing a more creative and practical approach, ultimately highlighting negative and positive aspects of the current system. Time as Currency The film’s concept of time runs as follows: from the age of 25 years onwards every individual is granted a lifetime of one further year, which begins to count down on their 25th birthday. From then on, the amount of time one has left to live depends on the acquisition of further time, or the expenditure which will inevitably thus ensue in Odder to purchase food and other necessary goods, such as clothes, housing, and electricity; time has become the universal currency.
When a person’s clock reaches O, that person dies immediately. The presence of sickness or other natural causes of death are not elaborated on within In Time. The currency of time as used in the film demands an exchange of a certain amount of time for other goods – and can even be exchanged for time itself at the bank in the form of a loan.
Labor and services are paved for with time, and the wages allocated to different types of labor may be relationally comparable to those used in today’s society with regard to low-wage Jobs which require little to no education and gig-wage Jobs which usually require at least some sort of education and/or a certain degree of power, such as the Jobs of managers, professors, pilots, and doctors. Daily life and routines seem very much similar to today’s system, with the exception of a higher death rate, however, even casinos and banks are shown in the film and seemingly fulfill the same function they do today.
One’s time status – which is comparable to the bank balance of today – is constantly on display in the individual scenes, making it easy for by-passers to inform themselves of one another’s wealth, lest he or she should wear long sleeves or another type of clothing capable of hiding the numbers from view. For example, in the scene in which Will Salsa and Sylvia Weiss swim in the dark the watch presents the only source of light along with the lighting from the mansion, which in itself shares an innate connection with time through its immense worth (see figure 1).
The only three obvious differences between the way time is used and the way money is used today lies in the following: firstly, the country has been manually divided into ‘time zones’, the crossing of which itself costs time – travel today only raises costs in question of transportation. Secondly, the fact that time is constantly being spent by an individual – somewhat unintentionally – Just by being alive, whereas money on the other hand retains its value and can only be spent intentionally, and thirdly, that there seems to be no form of taxation or even individual fortune tracking.
The government is, however, keen on surveillance, which becomes evident through the large amount of cameras which are situated seemingly everywhere, and through monitors which convey the proportional distribution of time – therefore wealth – throughout the United States; the main purpose of this is to ensure that wealth continues to follow the geographical pattern which was dictated by the government, so that the very wealthy time zones continue to harbor the largest proportion of the country’s wealth, while the poorer areas share very little wealth between them.
The film focuses on two specific time zones: the very wealthy New Greenwich – home of the Weiss family, and the poorer Dayton – home of the Salsa family, which illustrates the extreme social discrepancies achieved through differences in wealth. Bartering The concept of bartering is constantly being revised and today means a form of exchange where a good or certain form of labor is exchanged for another good or certain form of labor, whereby both of the goods or the labor in question are separable from their possessors and carry palpable value – usually in terms of their use and quality – as in, for example, the exchange of berries for milk and vice versa; both of these goods are subject to intrinsic value, the primary one being the function of satiating and sustaining a human being.
According to Aristotle, however, the concept of bartering carries a slightly different meaning. Firstly, Aristotle differentiates between types of property according to how hose are acquired, for example through hunting, or agricultural processes.
These acquisitions demand time, which may be reduced by level of skill, therefore it is only logical that individuals should first and foremost pursue tasks for which they possess the required skills, basic required goods, or geographical advantages – for example a hunter living near a forest with a large quantity of game, or a wheat farmer with a sufficient amount of land available to him – and then exchange the in – excess acquired – good for a good which is more difficult or more important for the man in question to obtain.
The value of each good is measured individually by each of the partners or group of individuals with the same interest partaking in the exchange, Shoes may be exchanged for a house, cattle for horses, eggs for wood, harvest labor for bread, and so on and so forth. Essentially the value of each good is constantly being revised, there is no one form of currency, money in today’s form does not exist, a central market is not existent, and the government – should there be some sort of government present – has no impact on bartering as such. 4 Time as Currency in Association with Bartering
As mentioned above, the currency of time within the film In Time carries an intrinsic value – that of being capable of influencing the length of one’s life. Money in the material form used today does not have as acute an influence on the length of one’s life apart from its use in acquiring medicine or food from another human being, however, time too must pay for these goods nit the film. Following the traditional concept of bartering, man-made products or labor are exchanged for other man-made products or labor, however, time, as such, can be classed as neither f the two.
Time is universally granted and – although man cannot alter time itself, he can – in this specific setting – gain more of it, or lose some or all of it, thereby ‘bartering’ with his own life. At this point it may also be relevant to acknowledge the circumstance of time being an infinite concept in terms of gaining, and yet, it is certainly possible to be deprived of any time at all – by society, by oneself, or by the greater powers of the universe, leading to immediate death.
The fact that time is, however, the only globally accepted currency – currency eyeing a theoretic opposition to the concept of bartering, is somewhat of a negation of the possibility of seeing this system as a form of bartering. In bartering the changeability of a good or of labor is subject to the interest another has in it, and whether or not the individual – or group of individuals – is capable of exchanging this for a good or for labor of their own which is of interest to the partner of exchange.
In a typical bartering society there would be no primary or main good available for transfer, and certainly none by which value could be measured in any form, as time r the dollar can. Goods would be dependent on the separate circumstances of each individual, and their values would be subject to constant revisal. Currency as such is defined as being a system of money in general use in a particular country (Oxford English Dictionary, 2013).
Aristotle intense occupation with the concept of slavery amongst men can, however, not be analyzed via the film, as slavery in its original form does not play a role, because modern human rights forbid inequality among mankind. The population of Dayton is indeed, to a certain extent, enslaved to the government, as he government regulates inflation and thereby death rates, and due to governmental ‘time keepers’ – comparable to rope-men in contemporary societies – who are empowered to relieve individuals of time should they be accused of having acquired it without sufficient rights, or in case of other criminal allegations.
Prisons are naturally impossible institutions in poorer societies run by time, as inmates would not be capable of earning enough time to keep themselves alive during their stay without further work, which instead leads them to inevitable death. Aristotle coins the term ‘liberality’ in regard to money, describing a liberal man as one who is neither “acquisitive nor retentive of money, but is ready to part with it, and does not value it for himself, but only with a view to giving” (Aristotle. The Ethics of Aristotle. Trans. J. Thomson. England: Penguin Books, 1953. Print. ).
In Time portrays protagonist Will Salsa as becoming somewhat of a liberal man. Toward the end of the film’s development, he and Sylvia Weiss – daughter of one of the richest men in the world at the time – abide by the Robin Hood principle, which souses on the redistribution of wealth in order to reduce economic inequality. The most fascinating aspect here, is that the ‘wealth’ in question is far more life-giving, than money in the standard form, which certainly buys food, however, the human being is capable of living for far longer without food than without ‘time’ as portrayed in the film itself.
Strictly speaking this means that an extreme form of liberality is achieved through the disregard Salsa and Weiss show in relation to the value of their own retention of time, and the selflessness they are capable of embodying, even at such high costs. The film’s opening scene introduces Salsa as being confined state by – as is later revealed – the constant need to find more and more time in order to prolong his life, putting him in a metaphorical ongoing fight for life.
The scene shows Salsa from a medium close-up, standing behind a barred window and looking outside (see figure 2), before switching to a medium longest inside the room, which is almost completely dark save for the backlogging coming in through the window, again emphasizing the confinement Salsa must endure while wistfully looking out of the window in yearning for freedom (see figure 3). Freedom is, however, of course not available to Salsa. He is physically free to leave his apartment at any given time, but he will never be able to overcome the hold that the financial system has on him – at least not legally, but this he has yet to discover. Inflation The ability – and strongly pronounced desire – to acquire more and more time inevitably leads to higher life expectancies, and therefore also overpopulation. The government has come up with a solution to this problem: inflation. Through inflation individuals with little time on them are subject to a higher mortality risk, and this is owe the population is regulated, so as to avoid an increase in societal problems, such as a heightened crime rate, lack of food, water, or medicine, sanitary issues, etc.
The effects of inflation in poverty stricken areas are illustrated in one of the scenes at the very beginning, during which the mother of the protagonist dies on her way home because she does not have enough time available to her to pay for the inflated bus fares. It is, however, important to note that, although inflation takes place in the same way it does in today’s society, the currency itself, I. E. Mime, is not affected by inflation as such: physically an hour of time remains the same amount of a person’s lifetime, the only change in worth comes from the good being acquired by time, which then costs more.
At the same time this circumstance underlines the lack of individualizing existent within the film, the effect of which is achieved by the apparent stereotypical disrespect which the lower classes are confronted with and deaths which occur on the streets of the poorer time zones, people being so used to seeing these corpses that they no longer pay heed to their presence and have mingle accepted the irrelevance of their lives in the social system.
Inflation is not possible in standard bartering as conceptualized by Aristotle. A commodity’s value is determined by its degree of desirability, and so in times of famine edible goods are naturally more highly valued than, for example, in times of good harvest. This point further distances the concept of time as currency from being a form of bartering as it is made clear that inflation of time prices is very much determined and arranged by the government as is perspective’s needed, not as is natural. Influence on Social Class The lower classes tend to have little more than a few hours on their clocks, which means that affected individuals must move fast, are far more susceptible to crime due to the instinctive incessant need to survive, are prone to resorting to the vulgar sport of ‘fighting’ each other for time in front of an audience, and are subject to more casualties than the higher classes with more time on them are.
Social mobility is fairly limited, especially in the poorer time zones, as the search for more time plays an acute role in the search for a partner, however limited this time may be through he constant need to work more. Aristotle describes slaves as being strong enough to absolve the menial duties life presents mankind with, while the freemen are useless for physical labor, but useful for many other purposes of civic life.
This can easily be related to the correlation between the upper and lower classes in the film, where the lower classes work in factories or on the streets doing manual labor and producing goods for the upper classes which they can hardly afford themselves, while the upper classes either busy themselves with tasks – if at all – which demand brain power of a stable financial Asia, all the while exploiting the lower classes. Sylvia view on the clock and time as the sole form of exchange available is as follows: “The clock does no one any good.
The poor die and the rich don’t really know how to live. We can live forever if we don’t do anything stupid. Doesn’t that scare you? ” (In Time. Dir. Andrew Niccole. Twentieth Century Fox. 2012. Film. ) This describes two of the main issues with which society is presented: the fear and thus ensuing motivation of sudden death, as well as the lack of motivation one may encounter on owning a large amount of time, for there is then of course no longer a need to work ND yet these individuals have so much time that they no longer know how they may occupy themselves. Film Analysis In Time incorporates a combination of many different types of scenes, ranging from dark to light, hectic to slow, extreme close ups to extreme longest, all of which work together to help emphasize the extremity of using time as currency, as well as traumatizing and detailing its effects on society.
As mentioned above, the clock displayed on the forearm of each and every individual within the movie is often used keeping the audience’s perspective constant and attentive to the ‘bigger picture’, which the film conveys, as is the case in the swimming scene with Salsa and Well, where the viewer is reminded not to lose himself in the comparatively rather banal romantics, but to stay alert and capable of interpretation on a larger level. The lack of individualism in this type of society is also illustrated.
From the first scene onwards – in which Salsa is shown looking outside through the bars of a window – the clammy and fearful atmosphere driven by survival instinct alone without any visually explained causes is constantly reinforced, for example in the scene in which Will Salsa’ mother dies in the middle of an empty road from no hysterical cause, or the moment in which the man who gives Salsa over a hundred years simply seems to fall off a bridge filmed from an extreme longest, making the viewer feel all the more helpless and emotionally affected. Conclusion Time is not merely a medium of exchange in the way money is, it is a good or service, which can be directly exchanged for other goods. Therefore, it is essentially distantly related to Aristotle concept of bartering, consequentially combining the traditional concept of exchange with the less modern and, in today’s society, rarely enforced concept of bartering.
However, one distinct difference lies in the fact that the society Aristotle focused on was to force individuals to be responsible for acquiring their goods individually, whereas in the modern society presented by the film organized work and an advanced market are the predominant themes in which individuals are far from producing their own goods directly. The use of time as the only legally recognized currency ultimately intertwines the length of one’s life with the material quality of life itself – what can man physically acquire and how much of it?
This adds the component of natural survival instinct to the motivation for finding and keeping work, and has the distinct effect of eliminating unemployment in cases of poverty. The effect this has on crime rates is most likely ambiguous, as the sanctions which a criminal would face are almost certainly life threatening, and yet, if one’s life is in danger due to lack of time, he or she is far more likely to commit an illegal act in order to acquire more time than otherwise.
These points make this financial system far more interesting on a societal level than anthropometry systems, as society’s thinking is deeply affected by a more acute occupation with life itself and the inevitable death, the proximity of which is by far more dependent on one’s way of life – how much time is spent working, where and as what, with whom one chooses to spend time, etc.
Status seems to play a rather large role in the upper classes, even more so than in today’s society, as it seems that lack of status is greeted with disrespect, as is demonstrated by the waitress at the hotel in which Will Salsa has breakfast, by her comment on the speed at which he moves. Naturally, if one has a very large amount of time there is less of a need to move fast – quite on the contrary, moving slowly is somewhat of a prerequisite to avoid having too little to do with so much time.
An analysis of this concept allows for the realization that the current financial concept of money can be comparatively seen as lacking in certain fields. Firstly, the to the fact that the motivation to work is not as high as it is in the film – sanctions would be needed in order to increase the motivation. Secondly, the film highlights the extreme differences in between different social classes, which promotes inequality where it should not – a reevaluation of proportional taxation a integrated living areas could provide possible improvements.
Thirdly, liberality is naturally a more common phenomenon in the current society than in the film’s society, as there is less at stake, and inflation is mainly influenced by governmental regulations and has far less to do with the availability of a good or service. Through the replacement of money with time a new form of financial system is introduced, which is loosely related to the concept of bartering.
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