Civilizing the Economy A New Economics of Provision

Bankers’ Time vs. Human Time

Posted Oct 5, 2011 by Marvin Brown in Uncategorized, 4 Comments

When I was growing up, we didn’t talk about banker’s time, but rather bankers’ hours.  Bankers worked from 9 to 3 while the rest of us worked from morning til evening.  Things have changed.  In fact, the old bankers’ hours were closer to human time than bankers’ time is today.

Today, bankers’ time is techno-time.  Money, stocks and bonds can be traded in a split second with the click of a button.  It may take the European Union days to put together another financial package to support the Greek economy.  Speculators and investors can undo their effort in seconds.  As it stands today, human time does not have a chance against bankers’ time.

How fast in human time?  How long is a pregnancy?  It remains around 9 months whether we like it or not.  How long does it take for a child to learn to speak?  It begins around a child’s first birthday.  How long does it take to develop a reliable friendship?  To move beyond the loss of a loved-one?  To say good-by to one’s life?  Our answers to these questions will give us some knowledge about human time.

So whose time will set the clock for the occupation of Wall Street?  It depends.  How long does it take to change a banker’s mind?

4 Responses to “Bankers’ Time vs. Human Time”

  1. Gideon Rosenblatt says:

    October 7, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Great way of thinking about this. Banker's time changed when most of the routine transactional work of the banker turned into software transactions. When that happened, everything accelerated. I never made this connection about the old bankers' hours. You're right. They used to be some of the most civilized around, but the pulse of banking is now the pulse of computing, and it, like the tweets and posts in our electronic social networks fly faster and faster, in endless carrying meaning, but many, perhaps most, not. Good to meet you though on one of those good streams on Twitter. It is good for a few things. So how do we build a movement to transform a greater percentage of banking transactions in a similar direction?
  2. Mark says:

    October 8, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Well said! But I'd say there's not much point in trying to change bankers' minds. Better to change the minds of citizens and politicians. They're the ones with the power to regulate the bankers.
  3. Gideon Rosenblatt says:

    October 8, 2011 at 11:17 am

  4. Alchemy of Change Weekly Links (weekly) » Alchemy of Change by Gideon Rosenblatt says:

    October 8, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    [...] Bankers’ Time vs. Human Time • Civilizing the Economy [...]

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Marvin T. Brown, Ph.D teaches business and organizational ethics at the University of San Francisco and Saybrook University in San Francisco.

This book is the culmination of 30 years of teaching and writing on business and society from a communicative perspective. Visit for more information.

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