Over at The Story’s Story, Jake Seliger argues that the 99%’s are the 99% because they watch too much Television and is surprised that time spent watching Tv is not considered a factor when speaking about income equality/inequality. Seliger writes:
In all of the contemporary reports and newspaper accounts and blog posts about income equality, I’ve never seen TV consumption mentioned. To me TV consumption is astonishing and might also be linked to Americans’ larger economic problems—I can’t imagine that most successful, people who earn a lot of money watch anything like four hours of TV a day, because where would they get the time? I also doubt TV probably isn’t imparting the skills and knowledge that future high earners need to be high earners. It could be that I’m succumbing to the availability bias and assuming that the high earners I know are representative, but the fact itself still amazes.
It’s a valid argument and I can see how time spent watching Tv can correlate with income. If you spend less time watching Tv, you will probably use that free time learning something new, thus having an earning potential there. However, the problem I see with the premise that people’s income is correlated with time spent watching Tv is that you can say that about any activity, or any type of media consumption. People could be richer if they bought and read less books, listened to less music, or watched less movies. They could create more stuff if they consumed less stuff.
There has to be a definite link between Tv viewing, the bad kind of Tv viewing, and your ability to accomplish a goal, be it a financial goal or just learning a new skill. Even today with the web and social media, Tv is the strongest time sucking medium there is. I want to agree completely with Seliger, but again, you can blame anything else that is distracting you from doing something productive. I advocate for the same thing Seliger is advocating though. There should be more studies on yearly incomes compared to time watching Tv.