Daylight saving time is just one way standardized time zones oppress you

Standardized clock time is immensely useful. It is no exaggeration to say that the modern world depends on it: Ships once required it to navigate. The GPS systems that guide our cars, planes and farm combines count on standard time to calculate their positions. If you think setting up a phone call between Washington and London is difficult now because of differing time zones, imagine if local time varied by a few minutes between Washington and Pittsburgh, a few degrees of longitude west. In a society dependent on just-in-time supply chains and automated trading that works in microseconds, accurate, precisely calibrated time is as important as electricity.

But standardized time can be, and has been, used against us. Whether you get more out of clock time than it gets out of you is largely a function of your economic security. Almost 90 years after John Maynard Keynes’s prediction that the future would hold 15-hour workweeks and lives of leisure, we feel increasingly time-starved. Sociologist Judy Wajcman, in her book “Pressed for Time,” calls this the “time-pressure paradox”: Standardized time — in which DST is an archaic wrinkle — contributes to a world of labor-saving innovations. But the time they free up is immediately filled by demands for more work, and greater and more varied demands on our attention.From: Daylight saving time is just one way standardized time zones oppress you – The Washington Post

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8 thoughts on “Daylight saving time is just one way standardized time zones oppress you

  1. A little off topic: my own experience since 2000, definitely since 2008, is that my corporate employer has cut positions as a result of a Crash, and has maintained lower staffing levels. The remaining employees continue to do 1.5x or 2x their work loads of almost 20 years ago.

    It doesn’t matter whether we’re using Standard or Daylight savings time. People work longer hours because it’s the only way to meet the goals you’re given, and obviously it’s more profitable for the employer. A tough situation for older workers; but that’s another issue.


    • I’ve talked with some old-timers* that tell me it used to be double time on Saturdays as well as Sundays, and almost no one worked on Saturdays; but “as soon as Saturdays went to time-and-a-half, you couldn’t run away from them.”

      Granted, this is on a union pay scale where the benefits are paid in straight time regardless. For example (and keeping the numbers simple here, for illustrative purposes), with $30 in the pocket and $10 in benefits:
      Straight time = 30 + 10 = $40 total package
      Time & a half = 45 + 10 = $55 total package
      Double time = 60 + 10 = $70 total package

      So, if you’re wondering how twice of 30 can add up to 70, it just takes a bit of union math.

      Often 10 hour days are dictated because of equipment rentals. They don’t want to keep that stuff sitting still.
      But there is an economic dividend to overworking the employee rather than hiring more.

      A lot of places have rules against that; e.g., 35 hours a week max, everyone calls in one day a week, etc.

      * Journeymen of trade unions working during and prior to the Reagan years.


  2. 1. In all my years of working (~40) I don’t recall ever actually having work hours of 9 to 5. That includes a stint of white collar work.

    2. As a long-haul trucker I live by the clock as much as anyone, more really, since I need to meet pickup/delivery appointments while adhering to hours-of-service regulations. But every day is different.

    3. We already have a Universal Time of a sort with GMT. At least astronomers do. But related to my point above a North American Standard Time would be very useful for me. I’m constantly having to worry about what time zone a location is in and add or subtract an hour or two when planning trips.

    4. DST sucks. It’s just getting stupid given that the super special time now lasts twice as long as the old regular standard time. If we’re going to do this shouldn’t we just call the summer time standard and the winter time something like Daylight Squandering Time?


  3. Cis-het White Men created Daylight Standard Time.

    We need to get rid of it. We need to shame the people who say stuff like “Oh, I like DST! It lets me mow my lawn!” Publicly shame them.


  4. I’m really failing to see the utility on this “program”. You could make an argument back when America was agrarian. Then again, when I worked on the farm, day light was irrelevant. We were baling wheat between 1AM and 1PM, but you know, school kids, whatever.

    I get up on workdays at 5am. The amount of daylight is irrelevant.


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