March 03, 2017

If you live in Fairbanks, Alaska, but you want to call your friend 3,000 miles away in New York City, you’d better check the clock. There’s a four-hour difference between the two places. 

But, if you’re in Shanghai and you’d like to call someone in western China, about three-thousand miles away, there’s not much to worry about, because there’s no time difference. 

There aren’t actually any international laws about time zones. A country can do whatever it wants. Steve Hanke, of Johns Hopkins University, thinks he has a simple solution: a universal time zone.

Three Takeaways:

  • "Time is the same every place in the world,” says Hanke. “It’s just that the sun is in a different position.” Instead, Hanke thinks we should switch to Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC.
  • In the Hanke system, when it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, it’s 5 o’clock everywhere. Though for some people, 5 p.m. will mean it’s time to go to sleep, while for others, it’ll mean it’s time to go to work.
  • Time is a mess. Hanke says that by fixing it, communication for business and government would become much smoother.

More Reading:

Steve Hanke, Culture, Kara Miller, time

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