The economics of time travel

Suppose you could travel a year into the future and then come back again to the same moment when you had left. How much would you be willing to pay to do that?

Of course the question is loaded with potential paradoxes. After all, what happens if you go into the future, learning something there, and use that knowledge to do something that changes the future?

So let’s say that that’s ok. The future you are traveling into is the one where you had never had that knowledge.

So it’s a future that probably isn’t going to happen, since the knowledge you gain from your trip can alter the timeline. Maybe you can think of your trip to this possible future as a kind of insurance policy, a way to prevent bad things from happening.

In a sense, it would be your own personal alternate future. Nobody else would ever know that they were in a different future. For them, the timeline would still feel completely linear.

My question today is: How much would you pay for the privilege of doing that?

What if you could travel just one day into the future? How much would that be worth to you?

What about an hour? Or a minute? or a second?

Suppose trips to the future were regulated by a market. The cost of traveling any given distance into the future would be determined by the going market price — whatever people are willing to pay.

Some curve would soon emerge that represented price versus distance of time travel. I wonder what that price curve would look like.

One thought on “The economics of time travel”

  1. The knowledge a securities trader could gain from even spending a few moments in the future is so valuable they would pay a fortune of it, expecting to make an even -bigger- fortune upon return.

    In a way, that’s already happening – traders already spend millions to get information a few microseconds faster than their rivals in order to gain an advantage.

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