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How Sci-Fi Movie “In Time” Mirrors Life

Did you see In Time [3]? If you didn’t, check it out. It’s entertaining and the premise is fantastic.

The premise of the movie is simple – in the future, no one ages past twenty five. Everyone has a running clock and when it hits zero, you die. The entire economy is based on time. Instead of money in your wallet, you have time, which constantly ticks down, in your arm. When people rob other people, it’s to steal their time. When you clock out of work, you get your wages as time in your arm. When you borrow time, you pay interest in time. The poor have very little time. The rich can live forever. Everything is based on this fairly simple premise.

The plot of the movie itself isn’t bad but it’s not some trippy mind-bending Philip K. Dick type of story. You have some interesting subplots that make for interesting discussion (wealth disparity, class warfare, time zones, disasters of lottery winners & sudden wealth, etc.) but the basic premise of the movie is itself worth a discussion on its own because it’s not that as fiction as you might think.

(I try to avoid any spoilers for the movie)

Working for Time

Despite it being a science fiction movie, it’s not that different from our lives when you think about it. If you’re employed, you spend 8+ hours of the day working so you can live the other 16 hours. Depending on how much you make, you’re buying yourself “free time.” After you get an adequate amount of free time, at least for the near future, the extra money can go towards retirement or towards better stuff. The more money you have, the better stuff you can enjoy. You are paying other people to build better stuff for you, like fancier electronics, a nicer car, or a larger house. You are paying for another person’s eight hours so that he or she can pay for his or her other 16 hours.

Life Expectancy

While you can’t live forever like in the movie, more money does afford a better standard of living and often a longer lifetime [4]. Look at the countries at the top of the list and compare it to the countries near the bottom (or where those countries are on the map). If you had the unfortunate luck of being born in Swaziland, your average lifespam is just 31.88 years, a little over a third of the life expectancy of someone born in Monaco (89.73 years).

If I were born in Swaziland, I’d probably be dead already.

Anyway, thought it was a fun movie, here’s the trailer:

If you saw the movie, what did you think?