Why Does Daylight Saving Time Still Exist?

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465088762e6da8e0a1c285f3f4032941_vice_630x420 It’s that time of year again. The time when I see all the positive tweets coming through in regards to daylight saving time. Originally introduced by Germany and the Central Powers to cut coal consumption during World War I, it’s currently observed in about 70 countries.

Nowadays, people see little significance in springing forward, and often question the rationale behind it. That is why, when I say it’s the season for positive DST tweets, I’m specifically talking about the brief flash of optimism people display before they change their clocks. People just can’t wait for that extra hour of daylight in the spring, and say things like:

 

But in politics, health, and academia, there are plenty of detractors that say daylight saving might not be worth saving. One vocal opponent is Missouri State Representative Delus Johnson, who wants to end the watch and clock switchery altogether. In short, he says we should spring forward this one last time, without ever falling back.

He wants Missouri–and other states willing to join a pact–to permanently adopt daylight saving time and call it Standard Time. He’s sure that it’ll increase economic development in the later part of the year; giving people a little more daylight to do their Black Friday shopping.

Matthew J. Kotchen and Laura E. Grant at the National Bureau of Economic Research have argued that DST has had adverse effects on energy spending. They calculate some extra $10-16 million spent by Indiana due to time changes. Their research concluded it’s probably a much bigger loss in other states.

A year ago, Motherboard’s Kelly Bourdet reported on a health study that concluded DST might actually kill you. Chances of heart-attack were stated to increase by 10 percent on the days following the spring change, and to decrease by 10% after gaining the hour in the fall. Smithsonian Magazine followed suit:

Sleep thievery isn’t taken lightly. Whether you’re collapsing on your Monday morning train ride or arriving an hour early to your dentist appointment (probably the worst situation imaginable), DST will always take the blame. It’s like jet lag that you don’t have to travel East or West to encounter. And then there are cases like the man who was magically arrested at the same time twice last year.

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