Hopefully I’ll be forgiven this impressionistic, scattered post.  I’ve fallen prey to a terrible cold and am not completely here.

Rather than saying that time is money, perhaps it would be better to say that money is time.  And what is time, if not life? We only have so much of it and then it’s done, gone.  If, then, money is time and time is money, then it follows that everywhere we are buying and spending life.  This is especially true under wage labor– and it matters little whether one is paid by the hour or gets a salary –for in wage labor, I sell my time in return for money.  Those who buy my labor– my time, my life –get to keep the products of my labor, for during that time I belonged to them.  In buying goods with the money I receive, I am in turn buying the remnants of the lives of others; the accretions of their time.  Moreover, when I go into debt, I am promising future time and life to someone else.  A portion of my time, a portion of my time, will belong to this other for the next five, ten, fifteen, or thirty years.  Not only will my life and time belong to my employer, but it will also belong to this other that I’ve promised myself to in going into debt.

The more money one has, therefore, the more time and life one has.  For when one has wealth, they are not compelled to sell their time.  They can now buy time and life.  And what time and life are they buying?  They are buying the remains of the lives of other people.  They can own their own time and life precisely because they can afford to buy the life and time of other people to do things for them.  This is what many call “freedom”.  It turns out that there’s something ghoulish or vampiric about freedom.  It lives off of the life of others.  And, if that is not enough to make our hair stand on end this Halloween season, then we must also not forget that under the model of capitalism, some lives are worth more than others.  There is a ranking of the worth of life.  For one person, a unit of their life is worth $7, for another it is worth $25, and for yet another it is worth $250. Some lives are, apparently, more valuable than others.  Perhaps this is subtly indicated in those ideologies that would deny people shelter, clothing, food, and healthcare on the grounds that these people didn’t work for it and are therefore underserving of it.  Their blood just isn’t worth as much.

Isn’t all of this really the difference between the capitalist and the worker?  As I discussed in my last post, it is not the capitalist that makes money– that belongs to workers and workers alone –but rather the capitalists money that makes money. In this regard, there’s a real sense in which it can be said that capitalists are undead; which is to say, that they are neither alive nor dead.  Or maybe we could say that they have infinite life.  It is not their life that makes their money.  They do not sell units of their life in the form of a wage or salary to make money.  Rather, they make their money buy selling the life and time of others— whether in direct or coagulated form –and somehow turn that life into more money in the form of profit.  But perhaps these are just musings borne of the delirium of my cold.