At Quartz, economist Allison Schrager argues that it’s time for the United States to ditch daylight saving time. For all of the reasons that CGP Grey provides in the video below, I agree: it’s pointless and needlessly complex.
But Ms. Schrager goes beyond this (I would hope) obvious point. She argues that the United States, which has 4 time zones in the contiguous 48 states, should cut back to just 2.
Before the United States created 4 standard time zones for the 48 states in 1883, there were about 300 time zones as individual localities set their own standards. This made train scheduling impossible. 4 time zones, however, was manageable. Ms. Schrager writes:
I spent the last three years commuting between New York and Austin, living on both Eastern and Central time. I found that in Austin, everyone did things at the same times they do them in New York, despite the difference in time zone. People got to work at 8am instead of 9am, restaurants were packed at 6pm instead of 7pm, and even the TV schedule was an hour earlier. But for the last three years I lived in a state of constant confusion, I rarely knew the time and was perpetually an hour late or early. And for what purpose? If everyone functions an hour earlier anyway, in part to coordinate with other parts of the country, the different time zones lose meaning and are reduced to an arbitrary inconvenience. Research based on time use surveys found Americans’ schedules are determined by television more than daylight. That suggests in effect, Americans already live on two time zones.
-via Marginal Revolution