a small grouse off topic:
Back in the sixteenth century people began to take more notice of the fact that the Julian calendar, then pretty much universal in Europe, was drifting with respect to the actual seasons.  In addition, some church holidays depended on phases of the moon, and again the calendar was not keeping strict pace. 

Some changes were made so that the calendar would be returned more or less to agreement with the relative movement of the sun and more or less stabilized there.  This new calendar was the Gregorian.  Its acceptance was not seamless, some countries adopting it substantially before others.  Even now some countries also use the Islamic calendar along side the Gregorian.

Among the changes Gregory introduced was to skip over ten days (or eleven days in countries that made the change later).  Legend has it that crowds rioted demanding their eleven days back.  I have heard two explanations: one is that the crowds were superstitious and believed that there was a day written by their name in the book of heaven stipulating when they would die, and that they were losing a bit of their lives.  (I have no idea what they expected to happen to people whose number came up during the eleven nonexistent days.)  The other explanation is that it was all a misunderstanding.  All agree that the crowds had no reason to object.


Well there are sort of two kinds of people in the world: those who take and those who get took.  The taking by and large comes in the form of rents and taxes.  The mighty of the earth stay mighty by milking the rest of us.

So suddenly it’s ten days later.  Your rent is due at the end of the month.  Only instead of thirty days, it’s twenty days.  Do you have a legitimate complaint?  I should think you do.  And taxes roll around every year.  Shorten the year a bit and the rich get a one-off chance at your jugular.  That’s a lot of life’s blood getting sucked, but it’s spread out so people don’t object.

That was then, and this is now, right?  I mean it’s all worked out, so we don’t have to worry about getting chiseled again.


There is this thing called “daylight savings time.”  It was invented by business men under color of the claim that they wanted to have more time to play with their children before dark.  So during the summer the clocks were set an hour ahead and during the winter they were set back.  It of course was a terrible nuisance.  For old people jerking around their circadian rhythm can be deadly.  For the rest it’s just another chore.  But for a time, those states that adopted daylight time had an advantage over those that did not. 

Suppose you are running a business.  Opportunities, the entrepreneur’s friend, might come at any time in the day.  If it comes during the hour in the morning when you are not open but your competitors are, you’ve lost a deal.  But if it comes in the evening, you probably see it coming and can ask people to stay a little late; that’s easier than asking them to come in early, since they are pretty much on the way already at that hour.

So the marginal advantage meant that eventually the whole country was flipping back and forth to nobody’s gain.  They didn’t try to keep daylight time all year; that would have meant sending children off to school in the dark during the winter.

And now the trap is being sprung.  The plan is now for us to stay on daylight time forever.  An hour just vanished from your life.  I think you can be pretty sure that hour won’t come out of your time at work; it never did before.  Your rents, taxes, insurance and whatever will all come due an hour earlier and you aren’t getting it back.

What’s it worth.  Well the gross domestic product of the US was about 16 trillion dollars.  There are about 330 million of us, but the actual number of employed people is about 120 million.  So the average working person generates about 133 thousand dollars a year.  Bet you wish you had your share.  Assume a person works 2 thousand hours a year, some work overtime and some work part time, which we will consider to be a wash, the social value of work is about 66 dollars an hour.  So the average value of an hour is 66 dollars.  But it isn’t just the working people who are getting nicked.  It is everybody.  That comes to something over twenty billion dollars getting taken from the weak by the strong.

Back in the days when the economy needed a “stimulus” it was elected not go give a fixed amount to everybody but to give the whole lot to big banks which, if I recollect, then paid their chief executive officers big bonuses.  Had it been given to the people, they of course would have stuck it in banks, which then would have been a lot better off.

Maybe we did get a pittance, but it was grudging.  On the other hand the big boys seem to have no problem taking money away from us. 

This is not a priority item.  I have bigger worries than a few score billions of dollars.  But I confess it irks me.

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