In Time

Media Type: Film Clips Topic: Pricing, Opportunity Cost

Watch the trailer.

In Time, a 2011 film starring Justin Timberlake, depicts an economy that uses time as the sole form of currency.  Time is used to purchase all goods and services in the economy and without time, you die.  At birth, every person is allocated one year that begins after his or her 25th birthday.  In order to continue living, you must accrue additional time by whatever means necessary.  Additional time can be earned by trading, fighting or even by robbing each other.  The entire film revolves around the everyday decisions about how to allocate a scarce resource and whether that allocation is fair and equitable.

This movie cleverly covers many basic economic concepts, such as opportunity cost, scarcity and bartering.  It also deals with other, more complex economic themes like the unequal distribution of wealth.  The opening lines of the film begin with the main character, Will Salas, getting ready for work.  He lives in the ghetto, where the poor struggle each day to meet their basic needs and people are literally dying in the streets.  The rich, he explains, have more time and can live lavishly.  We find later that the disparity between the rich and the poor is vast.  The wealthy class has thousands of years to spend while the poor live in terms of hours and minutes.

In Time: 

Official Movie Site:

Movie Trailer:

Clip provided by:

Kim Holder, University of West Georgia

Adaptation from student work submitted by A. Kinnebrew-Owens, A. Khan, A. Guyton, E. Rizzo, C. Brazell, S. Samora, T. Fuller, J. Brock, S. Inthysone, M. Lowrance, M. Hitchcock, and G. Boyzo (ECON 2105-03, SPRING 2012)

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