Thursday, May 23, 2013

Making the economic case for reforming our jumbled, messed-up calendar

With the economy in the tank, only slowly clawing its way back to prosperity, there are some who argue that all other topics should take a back seat to solving our economic problems and getting people back to work.

That’s why, at first glance, talking about reforming the calendar seems like a waste of time. But in reality, it’s not, and there’s actually a great economic argument to be made that changing our old, antiquated calendar system could actually HELP the economy.

Dozens of great calendar reform ideas have been proposed. Many attempt to make the calendar perpetual, meaning that it would look exactly the same every year. Of course our Gregorian Calendar is not the same ever year, and does not look the same, but starts on different days of the week, has a variable length (depending on whether it's a leap year or not) and its quarters are uneven. Not so for these proposed calendars.

For example, the World Calendar proposal would start on a Sunday every year, and end on a Saturday every year. Each quarter would be exactly 91 days in length, making it easier for businesses to compare quarters.

The Symmetry454 Calendar also starts and ends on the same days ever year (starting on Mondays and ending on Sundays) and each quarter is also the same size, with the three months within each having 28, 35 and 28 days, respectively. The 18th day of the middle, 35-day month is the exact mid-point of each quarter, making it easier for businesses to use this as a “marker” to judge sales and progress, based on each quarter. By keeping the year at 364 days in length (367 every few years with the addition of a “leap week”) this proposal also makes comparing year-to-year sales easier.

Other calendar proposals also offer symmetry and balance in the place of the jumble of month lengths we currently use. The Sol Calendar, for example, has 13 months, each of exactly 28 days.

Each month begins on the same day of the week as January does in each calendar year. While business Quarters are not possible (since 13 is not divisible by 4) the equality of month lengths makes them comparable with one another. And it’s noteworthy that a 13-period financial calendar is already in wide use in business and accounting.

The New Earth Calendar proposal also contains 13 months of 28 days each, but starts each day of each month on a Monday by adding a leap week of seven days every 5 or 6 years.

The 30x11 Calendar concept is also among many that provides symmetry, with 11 straight 30-day months and one month, December, with 35 days (36 in leap years.) With a 35-day December, clearance sales would be easier to promote during the traditionally slow after-Christmas buying binge.

Business is always looking for simplicity and ways to better compare sales, costs and seasonal variations. By tinkering with our calendar design, we can offer businesses – small, large and multinationals alike – several advantages they don’t currently enjoy with the Gregorian Calendar.

For these and other calendar concepts, check out Abbott ePublishing’s eBook “A New Calendar for the World” for just $1.99 at