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The hidden benefit of the daylight saving time

Daylight saving time (DST) was introduced in the early nineteen-hundreds, primarily for economic reasons. At that time, and even before t...

Daylight saving time (DST) was introduced in the early nineteen-hundreds, primarily for economic reasons. At that time, and even before today's modern technology, the benefit of the DST was unquestionable. However, since more efficient power consumption and later start of the workdays, these changes make all the reasoning and the original benefits of the DST controversial.

According to Wikipedia, proponents of DST generally argue that it saves energy, promotes outdoor leisure activity in the evening (in summer), and is, therefore, good for physical and psychological health, reduces traffic accidents, reduces crime, or is good for business. Opponents argue that actual energy savings are inconclusive, that DST increases health risks such as heart attack, that DST can disrupt morning activities, and that the act of changing clocks twice a year is economically and socially disruptive and cancels out any benefit.

In an earlier time, when DST was introduced, it had more benefits than drawbacks. Today, the viable benefits of the DST are less and less significant, and moving the clocks twice a year is more harmful to the people than useful. Yet, countries, politicians, and economic leaders insist to keep DST.

Why? What is the (untold) reason for keeping the DST? It is the profit maximization based on psychology. How? Let's see, what happens when we adjust our clocks.

In springtime, when the sun rises earlier and earlier and sets later and later, we change our clocks to move one hour ahead. This change does not affect the early hours' daytime because the Sun already has risen, but makes the daytime longer in the evening. Longer daytime is good because we are still active at this time, but the effect of the artificially extended daylight quickly vanishes as the Sun sets later and later, anyway.

In fall, when the Sun rises later and later and sets earlier and earlier, we change our clocks to move one hour back. This change significantly modifies the morning daylight hours, when we wake up and start our days, preparing for and going to work. We can do these activities in daylight. However, the change of the clock setting in fall significantly shortens the daytime in the afternoons making sunset one hour earlier. The change shortens the already shortening daytime of the afternoons when we end our work and start our leisure time.

As it can be seen, the DST makes the morning, when we start the days and go to work, always happen in the daytime, for the cost of the reduced availability of the lighted afternoons and evenings, when we spend our free time after the workdays.

To start a day, especially, to start the workday in the dark, is particularly depressing. It would affect the whole day. It would certainly make less efficient, less productive, less beneficial for creating profit. The constantly changing availability of the afternoon daylight is the main effect of the DST by assuring the stable daylight in the morning. It is its drawback, the instability of our free time. Our leisure time is a subject that is greatly affected by DST.

The DST's benefit is to enhance the effectiveness of the workforce utilizing psychology by ensuring daylight availability in the morning when we start the workdays. DST's drawback occurs in the afternoon when we finish our workdays and spend our leisure time. The economic benefit of the DST is not the saved energy, but the more efficient human workforce. It is the benefit of the DST. Its drawback is the economically less essential and less profit sensitive, shortened usable leisure time.

The DST has this important, yet untold benefit, and has this significant, yet hidden drawback. Maybe this is the reason, why DST still exists.

1 comment

  1. The solution is simple. In workplaces where the majority of workers disagree with the change of hours, the start and end times of the shift should be adjusted by mutual agreement of local workers to compensate for the change of hours.