This segment was originally broadcast on Jan. 22, 2006.
The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by CBS News correspondent .
Is it more crowded where you live than it was when you first moved there?
A hundred years ago there were 85 million people in the United States. Fifty years ago there were 168 million. Today there are 297 million Americans.
Is there anyone who doesn't think there are too many of us? You know, except for themselves?
Any time we do something, there are too many of us doing the same thing.
Look at the crowds on the street at lunchtime anywhere. Look at the size of the classrooms in our schools.
If there's a good movie, too many of us try to get into it at the same time.
Look at the roads coming into town in the morning. Think of the commuters going home at night. The same people are going in the other direction at the same hour.
The roads that are crowded during a few hours of the day are empty the rest of the time.
It seems to me we ought to change the way we use the hours of our day. We wouldn't all work from nine to five.
We'd still work eight hours a day but not the same eight.
If it turns out too many people don't want to work nights, the pay for those hours would be raised until they did. Or maybe that shift could be cut to six or seven hours to attract more people.
We ought to have some way of identifying our shift, too, so that everyone knew which group we were in. It would be like belonging to a club. Each group would have its own teams, its own parties.
In this new world, we wouldn't all be having breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time. We wouldn't go to bed the same hours.
We could start by lighting up the whole Earth for all 24 hours. It could be done. Forget "between the dark and the daylight."
Television shows would be available when viewers wanted them, not when the networks felt like showing them. For example, 60 Minutes might be broadcast Sunday at 6 a.m., 3 p.m. and midnight.
I don't have all this worked out. There are going to be problems. For example, people who are not in the same time period should probably not get married to each other.
We've got to do something, though. Our population is exploding and there's a limited amount of space and time left for it to explode into.
If you disagree with this idea, write me a letter but save yourself some money and don't mail it.
By Andy Rooney
Copyright 2006 CBS. All rights reserved.