Bell, Daniel. The Coming of Post-Industrial Society. A Venture in Social Forecasting
New York: 1973
Since “free time” becomes more and more precious, the consumer will tend to buy those items that require relatively little of his non-work time and relatively more of his income from work. He will buy items that he can use and then throw away.
He will “contract out” various services or maintenances (as he now sends clothes to the dry cleaners). And to do this he may have to work longer in order to acquire the kinds of goods and services that give him a big yield on his non-work time. But the cost may be too high and he has to begin to reckon his trade-offs
He must calculate relative prices and yields from different allocations of time and money. He may find that because of high maintenance cost he will do his own laundry or dry cleaning in a self-service store, thus spending part of his time to save money. Or he may want to spend money to save time.
In balancing these considerations he begins to plot (without knowing that he is doing technical economics) an indifference curve of differential scales of substitution (of time and money) and the marginal utility of each unit of satisfaction in the different sectors of his expenditures. Low yields have to be transferred to high yields until, at the end, his resources have been so efficiently distributed as to give him an equal yield in all sectors of use.
Economic abundance thus reintroduces utility by the back door of time. Man, in his leisure time, has become homo economicus....
The end of scarcity, it was believed—the leap from the kingdom of necessity would be the freeing of time from the inexorable rhythm of economic life. In the end, all time has become an economic calculus. As Auden put it, “Time will say only, I told you so.”