The Daylight Savings Conspiracy


Each year, in the spring, the residents of many countries set their clocks ahead one hour for daylight savings. We do this unthinkingly. Perhaps we gripe a little about losing an hour of sleep. The fore-thoughtful will console themselves with the knowledge that in the autumn they will enjoy an extra hour of time in the day when the clocks are turned back. The hour has not been lost, it has merely been temporarily placed in our daylight savings.

This idea of a daylight savings deserves examination. Where do we place this hour of our lives for safekeeping? Is it the temporal equivalent of hiding it under our mattress? Or is it more a like a savings account at our bank?  These questions strike to the heart of the conspiracy. It is my belief that the hour of time is deposited in a savings account and yet WE DO NOT RECEIVE ANY INTEREST PAYMENT on this deposit.

How could this have passed unremarked for so long? Firstly, the authorities distract us with claims of the benefits of daylight savings time. It reduces the amount of energy used to light our homes, they say. This part of the conspiracy stretches all the way back to the 1700’s when Benjamin Franklin suggested that people could economize on the use of candles by rising earlier in the morning. Benjamin Franklin died in 1790. Do you know who else died in 1790? Adam Smith, author of the Wealth of Nations and godfather of capitalist thought. I need not spell out the sinister implications of this fact.

Furthermore, the first time daylight savings was instituted was during World War I,as Germany and its allies supposedly tried to reduce the use of coal. As we all know nations often use the pretext of war to pass measures that are not of benefit to the citizens but to the oligarchs.

Another benefit stated for daylight savings is that it permits greater use of the evening daylight hours for recreation.This populist sentiment is an excellent distraction and seems valid at first glance. However, an experience from my youth calls it into question. In 1988, when I was teenager, my home province of Newfoundland experimented with double daylight savings: clocks went TWO hours ahead in the spring. That summer the sun didn’t set until midnight. The greatly extended sunlight hours hampered our efforts to conduct transactions behind the corner-store, getting adults to buy beer for us. The covert acts of transporting and consuming this beer also became difficult. Alcohol consuming parties around beach fires were not the same in the seemingly perpetual sunlight. Our recreation was in fact negatively affected by daylight savings.

There are numerous other arguments I could make use to make my case but for the sake of brevity I will move to my conclusion. We deserve a proper rate of return on the hour of time that we deposit in our daylight savings. I am not a greedy man, and so I suggest a modest interest rate of 5% for the period of deposit. This would mean that in the autumn we would receive back 63 minutes for our personal use. This is fair and equitable.

I do not claim to know who is currently benefiting from the interest on our daylight savings. I do know that they will not surrender this profit without a struggle. I have been advocating this change for several years now (primarily through Facebook status updates) but I have made no progress. I now hope that my blog readers will join me in this crusade for temporal-economic reform.

(Regular cycling blog content shall now be resumed.Thank you for your patience.)


12 thoughts on “The Daylight Savings Conspiracy

  1. I had always heard that daylight savings was to benefit the farmers. Not being a farmer myself, I feel sufficiently cheated. Especially with a baby, as I’m sure you can sympathize.


    • On the contrary, farmers have tended to oppose daylight savings. Historically, their practices have aligned with daylight hours and not the clock.

      I am not a fan at all of losing an hour of sleep and as you say anyone with a baby finds sleep extra precious. On the other hand setting the clock back in fall for an extra hour is like one of my holy days.


  2. I don’t mind daylight saving time, it’s going back to GMT in the winter that I don’t like. By the way, with interest rates at their present level you will be lucky to get 20 seconds on your time investment.


    • Why further ahead? I’m sure I don’t know. The provincial government of the day was known for its harebrained schemes. Fortunately,the experiment was never repeated.

      The half hour time difference dates back to when Newfoundland was a separate dominion. There was at least one attempt to change the time zone to match the mainland but it was quashed (we Newfoundlanders like our reminders that we were our own country). When I was still living there CBC TV played the former Newfoundland national anthem at end of each broadcast day.


  3. A serious article on a serious matter. Thank you for moving the discussion forward. Let us hope that the issue receives even more studious treatment so we can finally get to the bottom of the Franklin-Smith Conspiracy. By the way, are you aware that Benjamin Franklin was a Freemason? There is no evidence to conclude (decisively) that Adam Smith was a Freemason, but many of Smith’s friends were Freemasons, so you can draw your own conclusion from that!


  4. I never knew that Newfies had it 2 hrs. ahead! That would be a bit of adjustment –body wise.

    Since moving to Alberta, I’m still trying to get used to sunshine at 10:00 pm in the summer. And local cycling groups like to start their bike rides 9:30 pm or so. Do you realize how abnormal that is…in Toronto? I lived and cycled there for 14 yrs. before off to Vancouver.


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