We abuse time, make it our enemy. We try to contain and control it, or, at the very least, outrun it. Your new-model, even faster phone; your finger on the “Close” button in the elevator; your same-day delivery. We shave minutes down to nano-seconds, mechanizing and digitizing our hours and days, paring them toward efficiency, that buzzword of corporate America.
The attempt was beautiful to watch, and a thrilling achievement in itself. But, despite the hype, despite the shoes, despite the millions of dollars of investment, despite the rigorous application of the latest scientific thinking and biomechanical analysis, and despite the mammoth effort of Eliud Kipchoge, the world’s best marathon runner, Nike’s much-publicized attempt to break the two-hour marathon mark came up short this morning at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza outside Milan, Italy.
It explains why barbers make more in San Francisco than in Cleveland and why services such as health care and education keep getting more expensive. And it provides a possible explanation for why rich countries like America are devoting more and more of their workforces to low-productivity services, dragging down the economy-wide rate of productivity growth.
It is a rare unifying moment. Hospitals, doctors, health insurers and some consumer groups, with few exceptions, are speaking with one voice and urging significant changes to the Republican health care legislation.