The Case for Small Government

A Libertarian Perspective on Economic and Social Policy

April 01, 2006

Daylight Savings Time

As we try to recover from the loss of an hour’s sleep Saturday night, it is interesting to think about whether Daylight Savings Time (DST) is a good policy.

The standard argument is that DST saves energy. Even if this is right, however, DST penalizes groups that do not like DST (e.g., farmers) and imposes costs on groups that must adjust twice a year to the change in timing (e.g., airlines). So, the net effect of DST is not obvious.

To read more about DST (which was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin), click here.

To read an op-ed by the foremost historian of DST, click here.

To read about Indiana’s decision to finally impose DST state wide, starting this year, click here. Indiana did exempt bars just this one time because the NCAA Final Four Tournament is played in Indianapolis.

21 Comments:

At 6:49 AM, Blogger Mike Huben said...

This is a perfect example of why liberalism is important.

All traditions, such as clock setting, are of questionable value. It used to be that people didn't use clocks for example. Was the imposition of clock-based schedules a win for everybody? Probably not. And people probably complained about the noise of church bells tolling out the hours too.

200 years ago, when Franklin suggested DST, the costs and benefits might have been much clearer in cities, while on the farms people didn't have to pay attention to the clocks.

As conditions change, benefits of traditions may or may not be positive. Liberalism offers us a way to break with tradition when it is harmful through coordinated action. Discrimination, for example, is a tradition that has been greatly reduced through legislation.

Libertarianism doesn't offer us this alternative. Libertarianism doesn't offer us political liberty, political choice. It speaks only to political passivity: be an isolated individual buffetted by the decisions of the rich and powerful, without any voice but where to spend your subsistance dollars.

 
At 10:31 PM, Blogger LP Mike Sylvester said...

I live in Indiana.

What is most irritating about the fact that we switched to DST is that our Governor agrees that a majority of Hoosiers did NOT want to switch.

Our Representatives voted to switch anyway...

Lets hope we get some new Reps in 2006...

Mike Sylvester
Indiana Libertarian

 
At 9:48 AM, Blogger Chris said...

Wow Huben, do you actually listen to yourself talk? What is this?

Libertarianism is much clearer on the ability to change decisions as needed. In fact it is far more consistent in policy and application that your new "liberalism". As Miron pointed out before, using a CB analysis makes libertarianism far more dynamic to the ebb and flow of the real world. Liberalism is usually tied to tradition and soft-headedness(unlike classical liberalism). So where is this political efficiency?

"Discrimination, for example, is a tradition that has been greatly reduced through legislation."

This is a luagher. Oh yeah, discrimmmination is a "tradition" that has been greatly reduced through legislation. So much misplaced faith in a coercive power...

How can that possibly be measured. What kind of tradition are you of anyways?

Nice strawman.

"Libertarianism doesn't offer us political liberty, political choice. It speaks only to political passivity: be an isolated individual buffetted by the decisions of the rich and powerful, without any voice but where to spend your subsistance dollars."

Libertarianism might not fit fully with the current ideology of the Welfare State, but it by far has the createst amount of liberty and choice. Also, by reducing the size of the state (that most advocate) greater liberty can be attained.

 
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