If you have the time…you should spend ten minutes with this video clip (here’s the link for the email subscribers).
It’s loosely based on a study by a social psychologist, Robert Levine, called “The Pace Of Life in 31 Countries” – which was subsequently became the basis of a book, “A Geography of Time“.
Here’s the abstract of the study:
This study compared the pace of life in large cities from 31 countries around the world. Three indicators of pace of life were observed: average walking speed in downtown locations, the speed with which postal clerks completed a simple request (work speed), and the accuracy of public clocks. Overall, pace of life was fastest in Japan and the countries of Western Europe and was slowest in economically undeveloped countries. The pace was significantly faster in colder climates, economically productive countries, and in individualistic cultures.
To paraphrase: there was incredibly strong correlation between higher economic well-being and a faster pace of life.
Of course, there’s also a causality question that’s being thrown around:
- Are countries less developed because the people that live there are more laid back? or
- Are people less laid back because their economies are more developed?
It’s probably a mix of both.
But the idea of people existing in different personal time zones makes a lot of sense to me. It explains a great deal of my frustration in traffic. And in supermarket queues. And in banks. And at passport control. And through security checks. And…
So. Much. Sense.
Rolling Alpha posts opinions on finance, economics, and the corporate life in general. Follow me on Twitter @RollingAlpha, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rollingalpha.