In the case of the United States, it seems obvious that a "young country" full of "new thinkers" from "diverse backgrounds" would be eager to dispose of old, inefficient and counterproductive traditions, but some seem to persist far longer than they should.
- Using paper notes for dollars when more convenient coins would last longer. (The 5 Euro note is the smallest here. Canada's smallest note is $5.)
- Using pennies that cost more than a penny to make. (The Dutch and Canadians have abandoned pennies but kept prices in cents; amounts are rounded at the register.
- Using Imperial measures when the metric system is far easier to teach and use.
- Dialling 011 for international calls when most of the world has switched to 00.
- Setting prices without taxes that must be paid. (Most of Europe shows taxes as a line-item but prices are inclusive of taxes.)
What I wonder -- and the purpose of this post -- is not exactly why the US seems to hold onto counter-productive "traditions," as there are explanations for those (examples: the zinc lobby for pennies or Imperial system as a form of trade protection). What I wonder is why the US -- and many countries continue the practice of changing times twice per year -- on different dates in different places -- when this "tradition" does nothing for energy efficiency, happiness, or any of the other (disproven) theories. All I see now are the ripples of twice-annual confusion (transaction costs) as people miss meetings, planes, dinner dates, etc.
Bottom Line: Governments should make rules that reduce, rather than increase, transaction costs for the majority of citizens. As a measure of "costs now for ongoing future benefits" I'd recommend a five year payback. The metric system may take as long to implement, but the end of pennies or daylight savings would probably have an instant payback. Your thoughts?