Daylight Savings Time, Uruguayan Time, Mañana Time, and other nonsense

Posted: October 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

The Uruguayan time zone was unique. It never quite matched Brazil or Argentina, its bigger neighbors, and the changing of the clocks fell some time in between theirs. Being one who deals in business worldwide, I would, twice each year, be suspended in a bizarre limbo time zone, unsure of what time it was in the world, while the phase slowly dragged through from Brazil, to Uruguay, to Argentina, only matching up to the US time zones I was familiar with at the very end of the month-long cycle.

This year, strangely enough, the government has announced, along with Argentina, that they are no longer going to use Daylight Savings Time. This, of course, fills my heart with joy, since I think DST is one of the most mentally deficient ideas ever to plague mankind. And it’s probably one of the first things both countries have done in decades that remotely resembles logic.

I can’t even imagine the amount of human productivity lost to those missing hours of sleep, the alarm clock that wasn’t set right, the people all coming in late to work, all because of government botch-ism.

The history of DST started with Benjamin Franklin, one of my personal heroes, who wrote a satirical paper about how Parisians could be more productive if they woke earlier and did things like taxing shutters, rationing candles, and ringing church bells and firing cannons at sunrise. Franklin felt about the Parisians the same way I feel about Uruguayans: they frequently bemoan their station in life but do nothing to improve it, either by action, productivity, or voting.

DST was later taken up as a lobbyist cause after Londoner William Willett lobbied to have the process legislated, stating that it “dismayed him” to see other Londoners sleeping through valuable summer daylight. He argued it until he died, but it never became law. That took war. World War I to be precise.

The Kaiser set forth the first official government-sanctioned DST in wartime in order to conserve coal. All the other European countries and their allies followed suit. And none of them ever looked back. The same form of idiocy brought about speed limits in WWII to conserve fuel, and those laws were never repealed either. One might think that the government is tying itself in a knot here– it makes money on fuel taxes, and mandates insurance; I imagine that there is a lot of money to be made if the government gave a rat’s ass about how fast you drive: more fuel burned equals more taxes in their pocket, the insurance gestapo could charge more, and there would be an increase in economic activity. Not that I advocate such things; I am simply illustrating yet another point of government moronism.

Some say that the speeding ticket racket makes it profitable, but I contest that it’s an economic dead end what with police salaries, equipment, and wasted time in court, but I digress and that’s something better left for another post.

Let’s get back on topic…

Never once did the DST legislation increase peoples’ inclination to show up on time. Especially here. Londoners and Uruguayos alike continue to nap through the summer sun. I cannot blame them; there is nothing quite as refreshing as a nap in the summer.

Motivation cannot be legislated into being. However it can be legislated away through taxation. Politicians do not understand that, and never will. I believe this to be the reason for “Mañana Time.” Why work hard when the government takes away so much of the fruits of your labor? History has demonstrated this time and time again, yet morons worldwide continue to think that they can somehow tweak an expressly unfair system like Socialism (ie: how is it fair to the producers who are taxed or stolen from?) into a system that “works for everyone.”

Fernando the painter was supposed to show up this morning at 9am, in order to finish painting the shelves that were installed with unpainted parts that were forgotten the first time (how that happens, I cannot explain– is this not what paper and pencil are for?). Fortunately I am familiar with Mañana Time and I knew the drill so I left the house in the morning to run some errands, and I was back and doing some yard work after lunch when he finally arrived at 1pm (9am MST/Mañana Standard Time).

If you want to nap through the summer, go ahead. Just don’t complain that you aren’t getting paid to do it. And don’t complain that you are not getting ahead when you voted for a system that is preventing you from getting ahead.

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