The world did not come to an end on December 21, 2012, as the Mayan calendar had predicted. In 2012, news of Iran's hyperinflation brought the solar Hijri calendar — used throughout Iran and Afghanistan — back into the news. And, every year, over a billion people around the world celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. Suffice to say, there are many calendars out there besides our familiar Gregorian calendar.
The Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar provides a comprehensive revision of the contemporary Gregorian calendar. It adheres to the most basic tenant of a fixed (read: permanent) calendar: each year, each date falls on the same day of the week; in our case, every year begins on Sunday, January 1.
The year is then divided into four three-month quarters. Each month begins on the same day (and date) each year. The first two months of each quarter are made up of 30 days; the third is made up of 31 days. Each quarter contains the same number of days, which simplifies financial calculations; this methodology would have prevented Apple's Q4 2012 accounting fiasco, for example.
So, each quarter contains 91 days, resulting in a 364-day year that is comprised of 52 seven-day weeks. This is a vital feature of the HHPC, because, by preserving the seven-day Sabbath cycle, the HHPC abides by the fourth commandment, thereby avoiding the major complaints from ecclesiastical quarters that have doomed all other attempts at calendar reform.
Moreover, the HHPC accounts for the disparity between the necessary length of our calendar (364 days) and the astronomical calendar (roughly 365.24 days, the duration of one full orbit of the Earth around the Sun) by simply tacking one additional full week to the end of every fifth or sixth year (specifically, 2015, 2020, 2026, 2032, 2037, 2043, 2048, and so on). This keeps the calendar in line with the seasons — serving the same function as does the leap year in the present system.
The multiplicity of calendars can be explained by a variety of scientific, cultural, economic, and religious factors. But, on a whole, it underscores the fact that no calendar has been able to fully address all of the issues associated with measuring and organizing the passing of time. The Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar represents the most economically advantageous calendar reform to date.
Steve H. Hanke is a Professor of Applied Economics at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He is also a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Troubled Currencies Project at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. He is one of the world's leading "currency doctors." His currency reforms have stopped several hyperinflations in their tracks.
Richard Conn Henry is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University and has authored hundreds of publications on the topics of astrophysics and various forms of astronomy including optical, radio, ultraviolet, and X-ray.
There are enormous economic advantages to the proposed calendar. These benefits come because the new calendar is identical every year... except that, every five or six years, there is a one-week long "Mini-Month," called "Xtr (or Extra)," at the end of December. "Xtr (or Extra) Week" brings the calendar into sync with the seasonal change as the Earth circles the Sun. How much needless work do institutions, such as companies and colleges, put into arranging their calendars for every coming year? From 2018 on, they do it once ... and it is done forevermore.2.) Surely you're not fooling with the clocks, too?
Yes, starting 2018 January 1, it is proposed that Universal Time, on a 24 hour scale, be used, everywhere on earth, and forevermore. As a result of this, beginning 2018 January 1, the date and time will always be the same, everywhere, greatly facilitating international understanding.3.) Doesn't your innovation mean that, for some folks, the date changes when the sun is overhead?
Yes ... but those folks live in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. As things stand, they have an International Date Line to contend with. With our proposal, that will disappear forever. So they gain that!4.) What happens to my birthday?
If, for example, your birthday is March 7, it will ALWAYS fall on a Wednesday, for evermore. However, if you want to celebrate your birthday on the preceding or following weekend, why of course you can! Christmas Day will always fall on a Sunday, which will be pleasing to Christians, but, will also be pleasing to companies who currently lose up to two weeks of work to the Christmas/New Year's annual mess. New Year's Day will always be on a Sunday, too.5.) Do I have to wait until 2018 January 1 to adopt the new calendar?
No, you can adopt it right now; but you need to persuade your neighbors to agree on the date.6.) Which years have a Xtr (or Extra) "week-long month" at the end of December?
I am indebted to Irv Bromberg for pointing out that a simple way exists to test whether a year contains a Xtr (or Extra) month: if the corresponding Gregorian year either starts on a Thursday, or ends on a Thursday, that year contains a Xtr (or Extra).
These years were chosen so as to keep the new calendar as close as could be to the cycle of the seasons. The new calendar is never more than five days off the seasons, after 2018 January 1: 15% of the time, the date is identical to the Gregorian date; 29% of the time, one day different; 27% of the time, two days different; 19% of the time, three days different, and 9% of the time, 4 days different. Only 1.3% of the time, are the dates different by five days, and never by more than that. The bottom line: 90% of the time, HH is off Gregorian by ... 3 days or fewer!7.) What happens to Daylight Saving Time?
Daylight Saving Time disappears, ... but also, it stays, as changes in working hours. Time zones, such as Eastern Standard Time, still exist exactly as they do now, but are considered to be "working hours" zones. In Eastern Standard Time Zone, a "9-to-5" job is defined as a 14:00-to-22:00 (14 o'clock to 22 o'clock) job. The next calendar day begins at what we now call 7 p.m. in the Eastern Time zone. (On the West Coast of the US, the next day begins at 4 p.m.) "Spring forward, Fall back" now means that, on the chosen day, everyone changes their work hours by one hour, but the clock time stays the same. "See you tomorrow" refers to the sun being overhead, not the calendar.8.) My birthday is January 31. But there will be no more January 31st's! And I run a restaurant: there will be no birthday parties on February 30's since no one was born on them! I'll lose business.
I do think we could adapt to this! And what about people who are born in Xtr (or Extra) week? When is their birthday, in non-Xtr (or Extra) years? Be like Queen Elizabeth: celebrate your birthday on a date of your choosing! For people born on the vanished 31st days of months - there's a simple solution. They were born on the last day of the month, so their birthday is the last day of the month (which would be the 30th).9.) Calendar Reform has always failed before. This will, too.
Right, calendar reform has always failed before. The reason was that all the major proposals included breaking the seven day cycle of the week. That is completely unacceptable to humankind, and that will never happen. The HH Calendar does not break that cycle. The HH Calendar can be implemented by those companies that want efficiency whenever they please. Just do it! Countries can, too. Just do it, Mr. President! Just do it, Madame President!10.) Hold on! You've forgotten the farmers! They can't be four days off in spring planting!
They don't need to be four days off in spring planting. They just check the date on their calendar that is painted on the wall (painted, since it remains identical from year to year), and then they check what the Gregorian Date is, to see if it is planting day yet. The Gregorian Calendar does not cease to exist, it just isn't ordinarily used. Except by agronomists.11.) Why 2018 January 1?
Because in both the current Gregorian Calendar, and in the new HH calendar, that day is a Monday (the start of a 7-day cycle, which we call a "week.")12.) Won't this whole exercise be costly?
It will be about as costly as the Y2K problem was. Remember that? But it is a one-time cost, and then we are safe until the year 10,000. Also, since we have just been through Y2K, we are in an ideal position to make a "second adjustment," having already located the software that needs to be adjusted, and learned how to do it. Let's not get rusty on this again: strike while the iron is hot, or at least still warm!13.) So, you are really just asking: do I want a very accurate, but very inconvenient calendar (Gregorian), or do I want a more-than-adequately-accurate, but VERY CONVENIENT calendar (HH)?