Dude. Am I glad I came across this discussion! Some cool ideas here.

The problem is that although I think my time tokens are scarce and valuable, they’re unfortunately worthless to you. Too bad they’re not transferable, where my spending 20 time tokens would give you 20 extra minutes of free time today.

That is true in this particular case, but of course it is possible to trade time, both with others and with yourselves. You can offer your partner/housemate to do the dishes, even if it’s her turn: this transfers time from you to her.

(As an aside, there’s also the issue of whether I even had the authority to allow her to cut in front of me without securing permission from everyone else in the line. But that’s not relevant to my point here.)

An alternative would have been to swap places. This would not have inconvenienced anyone behind you, and would have been a straight trade of money for time.

Now turn the clock back and try it again, replacing the box of cookies with five one-hundred dollar bills. Then try the pleasantries and complimenting their kids and see how things turn out.

This is the kind of thing Dan Ariely has written a lot about in his books about irrationality. We don’t turn up on the doorstep for a dinner party with $30, but with a bottle of wine that cost us $30. That’s what makes us humans, rather than econs (as Thaler and Sunstein maintain). And that’s before you start running into the limitations of fungibility of different forms of ‘money’…

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Accidental behavioural economist in search of wisdom. Uses insights from (behavioural) economics in organization development. On Twitter as @koenfucius

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