to Change the Calendar
After more than 400 years, it may be time to turn the page on the Gregorian calendar.
Using computer programs and mathematical formulas, astrophysicist Richard Conn Henry and economist Steve H. Hanke at The Johns Hopkins University have created a new calendar in which each new 12-month period is identical to the one which came before, and remains that way from one year to the next in perpetuity.
On the calendar they have developed, Christmas and New Years would occur on Sundays every year, as they are in 2011.
Among the practical advantages would be the convenience afforded by birthdays and holidays (as well as work holidays) falling on the same day of the week every year. But the economic benefits are even more profound, according to Hanke, an expert in international economics, including monetary policy.
“Our calendar would simplify financial calculations and eliminate what we call the ‘rip off’ factor,’” he explains. “Determining how much interest accrues on mortgages, bonds, forward rate agreements, swaps and others, day counts are required. Our current calendar is full of anomalies that have led to the establishment of a wide range of conventions that attempt to simplify interest calculations. Our proposed permanent calendar has a predictable 91-day quarterly pattern of two months of 30 days and a third month of 31 days, which does away with the need for artificial day count conventions.”
Henry posits that his team’s version is far more convenient, sensible and easier to use than the current Gregorian calendar, which has been in place for four centuries – ever since 1582, when Pope Gregory altered a calendar that was instituted in 46 BC by Julius Caesar.
In an effort to bring Caesar’s calendar in synch with the seasons, the pope’s team removed 11 days from the calendar in October, so that October 4 was followed immediately by October 15. This adjustment was necessary in order to deal with the same knotty problem that makes designing an effective and practical new calendar such a challenge: the fact that each Earth year is 365.2422 days long.
Hanke and Henry deal with those extra “pieces” of days by dropping leap years entirely in favor of an extra week added at the end of December every five or six years. This brings the calendar in sync with the seasonal changes as the Earth circles the sun.
In addition to advocating the adoption of this new calendar, Hanke and Henry encourage the abolition of world time zones and the adoption of “Universal Time” (formerly known as Greenwich Mean Time) in order to synchronize dates and times worldwide, streamlining international business.
“Business meetings, sports schedules and school calendars would be identical every year. Today’s cacophony of time zones, daylight savings times and calendar fluctuations, year after year, would be over."
The Johns Hopkins University
Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar