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Chronopolis is a city built on modern time-technology ("chronology") and is split into three sectors, slowtown, midtown, and fasttown, whose residents function at 1/2, 1, and 2 times natural speed, respectively. This is enforced by a grid of street-clocks which "balance" time between people in slowtown and fasttown. (The "clocks" only affect people, not animals or inanimate objects, so for instance, things seem to fall twice as fast in slowtown and half as fast in fasttown.) The basic law is that the total subjective time of all consciousnesses is conserved. Thus the population of fasttown is kept at around half the population of slowtown, because it takes two people running at half-speed to balance out one person running at twice the speed (2*(1/2)+1*2=3). Everyone still has the same subjective lifespan (so other factors being equal, a fasttowner lives for half the time of a midtowner).

It costs a large amount of money to just live in fasttown. Fasttown is the center of commerce, media, and politics, while slowtown is poorer, home to criminals and undesirables, with few jobs or opportunities.

What kinds of jobs benefit from being in fasttown? Why would they benefit from running at 2+ times the speed of the rest of the world? What would the economic makeup of fasttown look like?

Concretely, I have that the government is based in fasttown, as is scientific research (in particular, research on chronology). What do the rest of the 1 million+ residents do?

The level of technology is that of the first half of the 20th century (but this is flexible).

Notes:

  • There's an interesting question of whether things would feel heavier, be harder to move, etc. in fasttown because only people are affected by the speedups. I am ok either way (but I definitely don't want gravity to feel different in the different sectors).
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    $\begingroup$ If I'm reading that right people can move twice as fast but they can't move objects, like their clothes, or work pieces, any faster than normal, please clarify. $\endgroup$ – Ash Aug 5 '18 at 15:16
  • $\begingroup$ Also: how does this effect lifespan? Do the fasttowners die twice as quickly as people in midtown? $\endgroup$ – user49466 Aug 5 '18 at 15:20
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    $\begingroup$ @RonJohn OP is using "run" in the sense of "to function". As in: "This video game runs at 60 frames per second." $\endgroup$ – AngelPray Aug 5 '18 at 21:13
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    $\begingroup$ @RonJohn I don't think your logic holds up. A car can also be said to run. As in the phrase "This car runs on unleaded fuel". Yet it moves. Indeed, even "biologicals", as you put it, are regularly said to "run" in a sense other than moving without having both feet on the ground at once. For instance "Eve runs her own business". The xkcd comic you included (far from obligatory I might add) makes the astute point that the good flow of ideas requires effort from both speakers and listeners. If you were genuinely confused you could have simply asked for clarification graciously. $\endgroup$ – AngelPray Aug 5 '18 at 21:54
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    $\begingroup$ So, the relationship is pretty similar to urban/suburban/rural dynamics. You could just use that model entirely, particularly if plants, computers and machines are unaffected (which is odd by the way, is it because it is the inhabitants perception of time is changed, rather than time itself - more a social construction somehow made temporally binding?) Very cool concept. $\endgroup$ – Inoutguttiwutts Aug 5 '18 at 23:34
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If we ignore the inconsistencies around material interactions, include transfer of heat etc... then any manual manufacturing tasks are going to benefit from a temporally accelerated reference frame as artisans will be able to produce more goods in the same time period as seen from midtown, effectively doubling their daily output at the expense of their absolute lifespan.

Even if heat transfer is problematic for blacksmiths there are still advantages since an individual can work on more pieces simultaneously if their actions are accelerated compared to the heating of their work pieces.

The big issue is that raw materials brought in from outside, particularly wood in the form of charcoal for early smelting techniques and ongoing forging, or willow for basket making, oak for ship building etc... isn't going to replenish fast enough compared to the rate at which it is consumed by fasttown's workshops to be anything like sustainable. There were enough problems with deforestation from ship building and blast furnaces when we were moving at our usual speed.

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Anything that involves interactions between people. A teacher, for example would educate more classes in a midtown day by moving to fasttown. Therapists, prostitutes, architects, philosophers, some scientific studies - anyone who has an intangible product that is limited by talk and thought and action being slow processes, and not by materials or infrastructure.

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    $\begingroup$ I thought about the prostitutes, too, when I wrote my response. However, that all depends on how the people experience time. To people outside of Fasttown, any goods produced there would appear to get produced more rapidly elsewhere. This means that industries outside of Fasttown couldn't keep up with industries in Fasttown. Teachers, therapists, prostitues, architects, philosophers, and scientific research all provide services within the same frame of reference. In other words, a teacher might cover more material in a school room in Fasttown, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's better. $\endgroup$ – Ian Johnson Aug 5 '18 at 20:51
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    $\begingroup$ I'm now wondering what happens if you ride a horse from one to the other: does your horse get slower, or have you just grown more impatient? Also, the live fast- die young part is making me think OP has it backwards! Fasttown is for fodder, slowtown is a sleepy village and everyone is working for the midtowners, who reap the benefits of both... $\endgroup$ – Inoutguttiwutts Aug 5 '18 at 23:45
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Manufacturing would benefit from life in the fast lane. The invention of the assembly line streamlined the process, but everyone being able to move twice normal speed would also help. Cars, clothes, watches. Anything that is built by people would benefit from people moving twice as fast.

Agriculture would be another prime industry for Fasttown. If plants grow twice as fast, food could be produced in climate controlled greenhouses to eliminate issues with seasons. Being able to produce food year round at an accelerated rate would allow Fasttown to potentially produce enough food for all of Chronopolis.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes, fasttown would be great for manufacturing. Agriculture wouldn't be, because only people are sped up, not plants. $\endgroup$ – Holden Lee Aug 5 '18 at 18:47
  • $\begingroup$ @HoldenLee Your world, your rules. $\endgroup$ – Ian Johnson Aug 5 '18 at 20:53

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