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This question addresses where time comes from.

However, when I first watched the movie, the first thing I wondered was:

When you pay for your food or for public transport, your time obviously goes into the machine or the other person's personal time. However, when you live that time out, where does it go?

The movie is obviously an allegory of "Time is money". But unlike that movie, in real life, money doesn't disappear (unless you destroy bills and coins, or your bank has a severe glitch in their databases, but that's another story).

If that time were to simply disappear, doesn't it mean the entire world would eventually run out of time? No matter how much time you have, it won't last forever.

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    It goes into non-being, which is to say, everything – Valorum Sep 7 '18 at 18:55
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    I also suspect that those who're concerned about the economic flaws of In-time are fundamentally ignoring that time is (first and foremost) a liquid currency. Only poor people need to worry about using their time for actual survival. Those above the breadline probably use 99% of their time to pay for goods and services. That being the case, the government probably mint it off in precisely the same way that they do dollars – Valorum Sep 7 '18 at 19:04
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    Canada is considering no longer accepting some of the older bank notes so in that sense even 'real' money can have its value disappear and be removed from the market. – Servitor Sep 7 '18 at 19:21
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    India already cancelled some of its old physical currency. It was a big deal, and people had a deadline to take it to a bank and exchange it for new, valid currency. It caused a lot of economic and social disruption. – user31178 Sep 7 '18 at 19:54
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    @Clockwork I'm not an expert but the bank of Canada link says "For now, you can still redeem them at your financial institution, but after a period of time, you will have to send them to the Bank of Canada to redeem their value." – Servitor Sep 7 '18 at 20:16
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Really, you'll find your answer in where the time comes from. And we have a question on that with more details: Where does time come from in the movie "In Time"?

Basically, the time does just "disappear". It's spent, and removed from the system. But total time in the system doesn't run out, because when each person is born, they age until they're 25 years old. Then, they get 1 year of time added to their life-span. This is essentially how the system mints new currency.

As long as enough people reach age 25 to to keep adding those years to the system, it'll keep on going. And since birth rates tend to be higher for populations with lower income and high death rates, it's reasonable to conclude that there's enough.

  • Although I was skeptical with the explanation that was given in that question (which I also pointed out in mine), I'm now thinking it's the only logical explanation. I guess the ghetto could have been some "human farm" to produce time. – Clockwork Sep 7 '18 at 20:03
  • As was pointed out in the comments under that answer, while the system appears to mint some new currency with newborns, that doesn't explain where the extra money in the system is coming from unless there's a huge number of people being born, reaching 25 and then being immediately drained of their year. – Valorum Sep 7 '18 at 20:37
  • @Valorum Originally, everyone was apparently given a year or more, which is something like 7-10 billion years. New minting only has to replace currency that's spent purely on time, and not shuffled around buying stuff. Regardless of how well-thought out (or not) the system is, I think the answer still addresses what happens to the time: nothing. It comes from "somewhere" (poor writing). – user31178 Sep 7 '18 at 21:13
  • @WebHead - Oh sure. The entire film fails to adequately explain why everyone meekly accepts living on the breadline when the potential consequence is already death, nor do they cover what's happening in the rest of the world (the same flaw offered by Demolition Man), both of which smack of poor worldbuilding – Valorum Sep 8 '18 at 5:41
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    @WebHead - Also, if the sole means of creating time was that everyone got one year at the start then the entire system would run out of money in one year. Assuming a perfect transfer of money and no wastage, 51% of people would be dead the first year, 75% the second year and so forth. – Valorum Sep 8 '18 at 6:05

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