Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Great Evil of Daylight Savings Time???

My Conspiracy Theory friends are (strange as it sounds) very angry at Daylight Saving Time, claiming it's the government's way of asserting arbitrary power over us, that it represents man's insane assertion of human will over Nature.  After arguing with them all day yesterday, I've finally come up with a post that should suffice.

You might say I've sprung forward to the truth and fallen back on a handy explanation of it ...


If you're using anything other than a sundial (and we've been using mechanical clocks since the 13th Century), noon by the clock is almost NEVER noon by the sun at any place on the earth on any given day. Perhaps twice a year sun noon will correspond to mechanical clock or digital clock noon within a few seconds.

And this correspondence is rarely on the days of Spring or Autumn Equinox. This is because your location on earth will never be matched up with the "time zone" to the exact minute. Solar noon for Eastern Standard Time Maine will be far earlier than noon for Eastern Standard time Indiana. For that matter, solar noon for western Maine will be later than solar noon for Eastern Maine.

My point is we count hours for the sake of convenience, so that we can all plan things. The hours we count have some relation to the sun, but not an exact correspondence. This has been the case for about 700 years. Therefore Daylight Savings Time is really no big deal. It's just a way of adjusting a somewhat arbitrary system that is never in exact accord with nature to begin with.


But even making this case has been a struggle.

We live in strange times, whether Daylight or Standard.

Salisbury Cathedral, home of the world's first mechanical clock.


Paul Stilwell said...

They sound like these Naturist people.

They remind me of people seeking to convince that "only gold and silver are money", which is their way of saying that money exists by nature, when in fact money only exists by law. Human law.

Benjamin. said...

What people mean when they say "only gold and silver are money" is merely that they are reliably valuable. The paper is only valuable by law, but the gold and silver are also valuable themselves.

Benjamin. said...

I do not mean they are "naturally" valuable, but they are almost universally considered valuable.
Whereas paper is not universally considered valuable. That value is only set by the law.

Paul Stilwell said...


Gold and silver as money is made such by law.

Kevin O'Brien said...

Benjamin, Paul has a lot to say about the nature of money over at his blog, which is worth checking out - http://spikeisbest.blogspot.com/.

Paul Stilwell said...

Benjamin, be warned though; a lot of it is me hammering myself over the head in a repetitious manner.

Don't take my "LOL" as cynicism or anything toward your comments. It was more me just expressing the cheap thrill I get when it comes to talking about money. I've danced in circles with people, both online and in person, on this subject, and I notice that the mulberry bush we're always dancing around is "what money means", or "what do we mean by money".

It always comes down to this: what do we mean by money.

Kevin O'Brien said...

Hey, let me boldly go where angels fear to tread.

Money is indeed a "medium of exchange". It is either a tangible or intangible commodity that serves as a means of credit and debt at all times, even with gold or silver. Accepting any kind of payment in "money" and not in a bartered good desired for its own sake is a way for the seller to extend credit, having the belief that the commodity he has accepted from the buyer can be used at some future time to redeem for a desired good or service.

This is true whether the commodity accepted from the buyer is a gold coin, a fur pelt, or an entry in a ledger (a digital computer "dollar"). Money is the stopgap that allows trade to extend into the future.

There is an arbitrary nature to what we use as money, but that arbitrary nature can cause true gain or loss, due to the nature of the market and the item we're using as money - the stopgap that bridges today's sale with tomorrow's purchase (from the seller's perspective).

Problems with money surface when the stopgap changes in value in the marketplace. By its nature the stopgap has no intrinsic value, nor is it valued by the holder beyond its purchasing power or its ability to be traded for something that the holder values.

So if you've been trading in fur pelts and if the pelts serve as your money, and if you've been hoarding them in order to trade for things you actually desire (like food or clothing), you will be frustrated if there's a glut of pelts and the market won't let you trade them for the same number or quality of items that match the value you exchanged in obtaining them.

Paul Stilwell said...

I would have to say that I basically agree - though I don't like that term "credit". And also, there are other things that money does which contribute to its definition.

One way I like to put it is that money is the meeting of human law with wealth, by which meeting is decided the beneficiaries of the transacting economy that follows. For every law there is a lawmaker or a number of them, whether that lawmaker is an old world goldsmith or a new world cryptographer or a private bank or a government.

By this meeting of human law with wealth - whether benevolent or corrupt - is decided the extent and nature of the transacting economy that follows - that is to say, how many people will be able to meet with the goods they both need and want, which means how valued will their productions be. For instance, whether in just a few years by one's labours people are commonly able to buy houses and properties without mortgages, all done and paid, which by implication means their labours are valued extensively, or a person spends his entire life paying off a mortgage by his labours, which are by implication not valued worth a damn.

Either there are parties that profit from this meeting of human law with wealth so that the system is a vast pyramid scheme, or this meeting of human law with wealth is done for the common good.

Quantity control - that is, good quantity control - is the disinterested (in the sense of not making profit from this position of power, from this meeting of human law with wealth, this profit being usury) valuing of the "stopgap" - as you put it. And yes, it does not make the stopgap have value in the sense that that is what gives money its value, but controlling the quantity is the human recognition of the stopgap's value in making for a good economy.

Basically, if money is a human law enacted by a "lawmaker", then just like other laws it has to be upheld. This is where quantity control comes in. Quantity control is honouring the law that you have enacted. In the case of a government issuing the money and controlling its quantity, the quantity control (like extinguishing for instance) is the government looking after the representative value of the money. Looking after the representative value of the money keeps the money the viable instrument which people use as something of value - that is, the representation of what every person wants it to represent: the wealthiest wealth. But in the case of a government issuing the money debt-free and controlling the quantity, it is the wealthiest wealth held in tension with the commonest commonality.

In the case of a private bank, quantity control is used to benefit themselves.

Quantity control - which is inherent in the fact of the existence of money - is control of wealth: either spread out (over time) into the common good, or concentrated (over time) away from the many into the hands of the few.

The "control" always has a destination. So it really is about WHO controls the quantity.

But here's one attribute about money that particularly interests me: the fact that money, when it is issued debt-free and the quantity controlled, by being "the stopgap that allows trade to extend into the future", it means that every bit of talent, every bit of production, really, anything that any person has to offer in any way, is now "included" in the economy's wealth recognition. This common instrument makes a kind of commonality between a child buying candy and a businessman buying a business. When it works well, there is no such thing as a statically kept wealth which it represents, but that the wealth increases in the best sense, in that it allows for innovations and all kinds of ingenuity.

Joey Higgins said...

Daylight savings is a pain for programming.

Although, programming also solves the problems for people (if my phone and computer didn't tell me of the time change I would have been an hour early - oh no!).