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17 Apr 2019 at 18:28:50 user 'jcobban' wrote: Daylight Savings Time

The whole world has become enamored of the concept of Daylight Savings Time.  That is during the part of the year when daylight extends for more than 13 hours everyone is required to wake up an hour earlier in the day in order to be able to fully enjoy the additional time before the sun sets.  This is done not as a voluntary decision by each individual, or by each employer, but rather as a directive from the Government.

The idea originated with Benjamin Franklin who mused in one of his publications that the City of Paris, where he was living at the time as the American Ambassador to France, could save thousands of candles each year if they just woke up an hour earlier in summer.  Ben Franklin is popularly believed to have declared "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."  If he did so he was only quoting Aristotle.  Now old Ben was not particularly fond of what today is called "Government Overreach" and it was his personal abhorrence of the ill-informed actions of the British Government that led to his advocacy of the idea of the United States of America.  He was just suggesting that it was "Common Sense" to exploit the additional hour of sunlight early in the morning during the summer.  I am certain that he would have sympathized with farmers who complain that "Daylight Savings Time is like the man who thought that by cutting a foot off one end of a blanket and sewing it on the other end he could make the blanket longer." Or more prosaicly: "How do I explain Daylight Savings Time to my cows and chickens?"

It is also important to understand that old Ben was commenting on a situation specific to his residence at the time, just ten miles south of what would, in 1818, be established as the northernmost limit of the contiguous United States at 49°!  In Paris the longest period of daylight is 16 hours 11 minutes!  That means that the summer days were longer at Ben's home in Paris than in any city in America, and particularly than his old home in Philadelphia where the longest day is 15 hours 3 minutes.  The advantages of waking up an hour earlier were therefore less everywhere in the original 13 states than at Ben's temporary residence.

Now because the United States of Amrica is by far the largest market in the Americas, every other country that produces products and services which are sold to the United States has been compelled by pure ecomincs to match the time shifts imposed by their Armerican neighbors. This works reasonably well for Canada, much of which is even farther north than Paris.  But Costa Rica?  its capital, San José is not even at latitude 10°!  To all intents and purposes the sun rises every morning of the year at 6am local time and sets at 6pm local time.  The rest of Central America and Mexico similarly follows the time shifts of the neighbouring American states.  Even for those American states like California and Texas, just slightly beyond the tropics, the point of Daylight Savings Time is dubious, since the sun does not rise before 5am on even the longest day.  But those Latin American states must conform to the behavior of their wealthier customer, just as those southern states are conforming to more northerly states where there is some, if a dubious, advantage to following a government fiat.

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