April 15, 2012

Fall Back and Spring Forward Reducing Productivity: Money or Plain Stupidity?

By EconMatters

Every year Americans are forced to go through this arbitrary time change (aka DST- daylight saving time), just when their bodies finally adjust to the new time, they have to mess up their sleep schedules once again, and move time an hour ahead or behind for the sake of tradition. It is about time for a vote on this antiquated, outdated, and obviously absurd policy by the American Public.

Who cares who gets elected? Like that really makes a difference anyway! Republican or Democrat, they all are subject to lobbyists that ultimately sacrifice the American Public`s interests in the end for the sake of a powerful agenda. For example, Republicans screwed the American Public for the sake of the Midwestern farm lobby and got a ridiculous, non-market solution in an ethanol mandate. And the Democrats screwed the American Public for the sake of the Solar Industry, with a ridiculous, non-market solution for government backed alternative Energy mandates that don`t make any economic sense on their own merit.

But here is something that actually matters--let`s address this time change policy once and for all. I know farmers way back in the day supposedly benefited from this time change policy in helping them harvest their crops, why they couldn`t just get up an hour earlier instead of subjecting the entire nation to this ridiculous policy is beyond me. I am sure there are some other benefits that some group is supposedly benefitting from the status quo time policy.

However, my entire argument isn`t to say that there couldn`t possibly be some benefits from this policy, but rather these benefits are minimal when compared with the alternatives. So I will avoid any further discussion of this perspective, because the negative effects of constantly changing back in forth versus my solution for time policy isn`t even close.

Here is the solution: Split the difference between the two times, say 30 minutes, and leave this the time for the entire year. Enough said, and workers, students, and all Americans instantly become more productive, healthier contributing members to society. We develop more consistent sleeping routines. Americans have enough trouble establishing healthy sleep routines as it is without constantly adjusting the time twice a year. When you sleep better, your concentration is better; you perform better, are healthier, happier, and get more accomplished in the day. In short, you are a more productive human being. So let`s have a vote during the upcoming election on this very policy. I bet it gets past in a landslide.

So why hasn`t this been addressed by now. My guess is that money is involved. There is that old-adage that when in doubt, follow the money trail. There must be some financial incentives for somebody in keeping the ridiculous status quo in place all these years. Or just plain stupidity, it`s not like human beings don`t have a rather long history of believing, participating, and acting out some pretty ridiculous and short-sighted ideas about the external world. In fact, humanity has a rather long love affair with being very unenlightened on a lot of topics, why should time be any different. Maybe it is just tradition for the sake of tradition.

I don`t want to waste any more time thinking why the Time Change Policy is still in practice today. It is pointless in the end, if a truly superior alternative exits. So to reiterate I advocate splitting the difference between the two times, and making this the permanent time year round. It is a no-brainer, a simple concept that ensures consistency, and will increase in value as humans adapt to the new time. Five years of getting up at 6:00 am day after day, year after year will improve American`s sleeping patterns and make them healthier, more productive agents. It`s time for a real change, put this on the ballot in November, and let`s vote on this Time Change Policy!

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