Time and the Clock

At last, there is an issue on which the whole country agrees (and can fight about at the same time). We all agree that we should stop having to move our clocks up or back twice a year. That is wonderful news. Now the (I assume relatively harmless) debate has begun whether we should freeze day light savings time or standard time.

In today’s electronic era most of our clocks adjust automatically to the crazy rules of our government. For the others, including my car clocks, they are an hour off for part of the year as I have given up adjusting them long ago. I just have to remember which they are stuck at. Out of the wonderful blue, it would seem, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill to make daylight savings time permanent. Apparently, “they basically like the idea of more sun later in the day — regardless of how it means sunrises arrive very late in the winter, approaching 9 a.m. in some northern states.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/17/senate-time/

We no longer (if the House also passes the bill) need to get angry at the absurd statement that DST gives us more daylight and can laugh at the joke.

More from the above Washington Post article playing along with the joke:

“’I was pretty surprised we had the power to change time itself,’ Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said while leading last week’s hearing, reflecting on a previous vote to change the start and end date of daylight saving.

“Some lawmakers talk as if they have the power to alter the sun itself.

“’Let’s give Americans something to celebrate: longer days and more sunshine,’ Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), a co-sponsor of Rubio’s bill, said in a speech March 7.

“’Americans want more sunshine and less depression,’ Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said Tuesday in a speech.

“In fact, the days will not be longer and the sun will shine the exact same amount of time. The difference is how to set clocks for when the sun will rise and when it will set.”

So on with the debate whether to permanently adopt DST or ST. May the best man (or woman) win.

Author: Warren Coats

I specialize in advising central banks on monetary policy and the development of the capacity to formulate and implement monetary policy.  I joined the International Monetary Fund in 1975 from which I retired in 2003 as Assistant Director of the Monetary and Financial Systems Department. While at the IMF I led or participated in missions to the central banks of over twenty countries (including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgystan, Moldova, Serbia, Turkey, West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Zimbabwe) and was seconded as a visiting economist to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (1979-80), and to the World Bank's World Development Report team in 1989.  After retirement from the IMF I was a member of the Board of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority from 2003-10 and of the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review from 2010-2017.  Prior to joining the IMF I was Assistant Prof of Economics at UVa from 1970-75.  I am currently a fellow of Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise.  In March 2019 Central Banking Journal awarded me for my “Outstanding Contribution for Capacity Building.”  My recent books are One Currency for Bosnia: Creating the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina; My Travels in the Former Soviet Union; My Travels to Afghanistan; My Travels to Jerusalem; and My Travels to Baghdad. I have a BA in Economics from the UC Berkeley and a PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago. My dissertation committee was chaired by Milton Friedman and included Robert J. Gordon.

4 thoughts on “Time and the Clock”

  1. I live in Arizona now, and my friends sometimes say with pride “we don’t change our clocks.” But I live “on the internet” much of the time, and twice a year I have to remind myself that I have moved from Denver Time to Los Angeles Time. I need to keep the offset in mind continually when registering for a video next week with an ‘EDT’ starting time.

    So, after next March, will I be permanently in Los Angeles Time? If the State Legislature has anything to say, it will say “do nothing” and the de facto switch to Denver will cease to happen – unless Congress mandates the entire MST area must move in synchrony with the new “daylight all year” rules.

    Government is always causing “more uncertainty” in our lives.

  2. I agree with you Warren. An additional benefit is the it stabilizes the continental drift. Presently, we draw closer to Greenwich in the Spring and revert in the Fall. It is sort of an earthquake. Making our closeness permanent will preserve much china from earthquake breakage.

  3. With automatic watches and the like, we could live with even more complex time systems, so I expect other countries may find the simplicity of a single system rather mundane. Why not have one time system for the whole globe? Perhaps France will propose a way to standardize so that all countries are on the same system. It’s only the numbers that change and nothing else.

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