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The Madera Tribune

Time is money: New twist, old adage

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webmaster | 04/19/12

“Time is money.” This statement is attributed to Benjamin Franklin by BrainyQuotes and other sources. However, the sentiment behind the words probably originated hundreds of years earlier. The basic idea is that time is valuable, and money is wasted when a person’s time is not being used in a productive manner.

One of the most demonstrative examples of this old adage is the concept among attorneys of “billable hours.” Each hour (or part thereof) that a lawyer spends working on a case is billed to the client and is credited as income to the law firm. In one of the many popular novels written by John Grisham (who is a lawyer as well as a successful writer), one of the “heroes” of a law firm is praised for coming up with a scheme for billing out 25 hours in a single (24-hour) day. He worked ‘round the clock, including a plane trip through different time zones.

In the world of commerce, however, the quantity and quality of production during a certain period of time matters more than simply how much time is spent on a task. It was this notion that put an end to the guild system that blossomed during medieval times and created the factory system that accompanied the industrial revolution.

During the early part of the 20th century, quantity won out over quality. It was not the craftsmanship that went into the Model T that made Henry Ford famous, but rather the speed with which his products rolled off the assembly belt. Furthermore, the more cars built per week, the lower the price per car. Soon, nearly every worker in a Ford factory could afford to own one of the boss’ cars...


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