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"People ask me how I do research for my science fiction. The answer is, I never do any research. I just enjoy reading the stuff, and some of it sticks in my mind and fits into the stories."
- Frederik Pohl

Timebroker  
  A person who traded in the commodity of other people's time.  

In the near future Earth of this short story, Cedric Swann is a timebroker. His job is a byproduct of the a-soms, anti-somnolence drugs that eliminated the need for sleep. Finally, humanity had broken free of the time standard created by their planet's rotation. There were no longer hours that were especially more desirable for work, or for leisure, or entertainment.

A timebroker mediated between individuals and institutions, citizens and the government. Individuals registered their shifting schedules hour by hour with a timebroker of their choice. During such and such hours, they would be willing to work; during other hours, they were interested in attending a concert, a ball game, a university class, a gym. Contrarily, institutions registered their needs. The symphony wants a thousand listeners at four a.m. on Sunday. Can you provide them?

Institutions paid the timebrokers large fees for delivering guaranteed numbers of people - customers or workers or jury pools. Citiziens received discounts on the face value of ickets or tuition, or bonuses from employers, or tax breaks from the state and federal governments, for being willing to commit blocks of time via their timebrokers.

From Shuteye for the Timebroker, by Paul Di Filippo.
Published by Penguin in 2006
Additional resources -

Very cool meditation on the fungibility of time in a 24/7 society.

From the excellent anthology of original stories Futureshocks, edited by Lou Anders.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Shuteye for the Timebroker
  More Ideas and Technology by Paul Di Filippo
  Tech news articles related to Shuteye for the Timebroker
  Tech news articles related to works by Paul Di Filippo

Timebroker-related news articles:
  - Eventful Timebrokers Your Future

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