New calendar and no time zones

Two professors at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore has come up with a new calendar. This calendar has the potential to replace the globally used Gregorian calendar that has been in use since the late 16th century.

Dr. Steven Hanke and Prof. Richard Henry had this publication out a couple of months ago. I would urge anyone who is going to read this post to first go and check that out.

Apart from the proposal for a permanent (yes, every holiday would be on the same date every year!) calendar with equal number of days every quarter, they have also proposed the abolition of all time zones and adoption of the UTC (a.k.a. GMT) all over the world.

[picture courtesy: http://www.cato.org/images/hanke-henry-permanent-calendar.jpg]

I’m all up for the new calendar but I have my reservations about doing away with all time zones. So I wrote an e-mail to both the professors. Here is my mail below.

Hello Dr. Hanke and Prof. Henry,

Recently I came across the article that you published on a new calendar. I am intrigued, to say the least! The new calendar that you have proposed makes a lot sense, with respect to the continued unchanged-ness of a calendar that predicts each holiday the same day, every year. I am sure that there will be cultural and social backlash to such a proposed upending of centuries of custom and tradition – specially those regions which follows the lunar calendar as opposed to the solar Gregorian one – but I think in due course of time, this has a good chance of being adopted universally. For most of the people on earth, changing (or rather making it constant) the day of Easter or Memorial Day or Holi (the Indian festival of colours) is not such an earth shattering event. For all business (retail, stock markets, IT are the ones that readily comes mind) this would be a boon of the highest order.
 
The thing that I couldn’t wrap my head around was the proposal to abolish all time zones and make UTC the only time prevalent all over the world. By this aren’t you proposing that people all over the world (except for the British folks!) to change their daily schedule? Schedule that has been molded into habit, over periods of multiple generations. Going by the UTC as the one time zone across the world: When a banker opens his branch in London at 8 am, the business analyst of the same bank working in Minneapolis, Minnesota (which is by the current standard 6 hours behind UTC and at 2 am) would have to consider this as HIS 8 am and go to work. Aren’t you changing the very definition of day and night; of changing the basic human instinct of waking up when there is light and going to bed when it is dark; of working during the day and resting during the night; to face the world when it is bright and retreat into your cocoon when it is not as much? Or is my understanding of your proposal drastically different from what you are actually proposing? If my understanding is correct, this is far more earth shattering to me, not unlike, say, the poles on the earth shifting from their current North and South locations to East and West!
 
I would love to hear back from you.

I actually heard back from Prof. Henry in few minutes! This is what he had to say.

The only thing that changes is the reading on the clocks. Which you would quickly get used to. Nothing else changes. Easy!

What do you think?

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Categories: Demystify | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “New calendar and no time zones

  1. Vinny

    I thought colonialism (in all sense of the definition) ended centuries back…or has it progressed so far ahead, that the very concept of time, and existence has to be established by the English again. I am appalled by the response sent…if it was so easy to train the human mind, and psyche to get used to a device…like a clock….and to annihilate the understanding of day and night…then why propose it in the first place. If the theory is so simple, why don’t the English adopt another time zone…and be pioneers and leaders and wake up at 2am at night rather than 8am.? We definitely will follow their lead —

    Vinny

    • Hey Vinny – I don’t think – make that, I’m sure – that this isn’t an imperial conspiracy to keep the world under the British thumb! This idea was postulated by two American scholars. I think they chose UTC as this is the universally acknowledged “central” time of the world. They could have just as well chosen IST or Eastern Time or Pacific Time for this “central” time.

  2. Vinny

    Thanks, for the clarification…ooops I bungled up then.

  3. Kaustuv

    I think what prof. is saying that, yes our time would change (the reading on the clock), but so would our wake-up time. If you are waking up at 6 am now, you would simply wake up at 12 ‘noon’ (assuming we are 6 hours behind GMT now) but it would still be dawn just like now.

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