How long would you live?

Over 10 years ago I watched a film called In Time starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried. The film is set in 2169 where instead of being paid in money people are paid in time.

At birth, people are given 25 years of time, which is displayed on their wrist. The population has also been genetically engineered to stop aging at 25. To live longer than that you have to earn more time.

In poorer areas, the majority have less than 24 hours left to live so have to constantly work to earn more time and stay alive. Once your time is up, you die instantly. The wealthy of society have vast stores of time and are immortal. Imagine being immortal and with the body, mind, and health of a 25-year-old.

I don’t think the film was a big hit, so not many people I talk with have heard of it. But ever since watching the film the idea has fascinated me.

I love the concept and simplicity of keeping your time on your wrist. No need to carry a wallet or have the hassle of opening a bank account. It’s all right there on your wrist.

That’s just the theory though. The reality for most people would likely be more like a nightmare. It would be extremely stressful watching your time slip away second by second. That would be especially true if you were down to your last few days and couldn’t find any work.

If you had children it would be even worse if your time was running out. What would happen to your children when you expired? Or imagine having an accident and not being able to work for a few months.

You might simply run out of time.

You could borrow though. Maybe you could borrow a few days from a friend. Or maybe there’d be time banks. Borrow 30 days but pay back 33 days. Just like we can do with money these days.

But is this any different from our current monetary system?

In our society, poorer people tend to die at a younger age. If you’re broke and can’t afford a hospital bill, that could be the end for you.

Wealthy people can afford better food and better medical care so they tend to live longer. And with advances in health care, we may be able to extend life in the future. That’s a first step to immortality for the wealthy. The poor wouldn’t be able to afford the treatment.

We might have the poor dying at 60 or 70 years old while the wealthy die at 120 to 140 years old. That’s not so different from what the film portrays. The film is meant to be dystopian fiction, but is it starting to become reality?

Our current system isn’t so different after all is it? It’s not as extreme as in the film, but for some in our society, it probably does feel that way.

It’s kind of funny that since watching the film I often convert my money into time. If I have $X of net worth I imagine I’ll have Y years of life left. It’s not perfectly accurate, but it does give you some indication of how long your life might be.

Have you watched any thought-provoking films that still make you think years later? These are my favorite types of film even though they’re not so popular with the general public.