All in a day's work: May Day musings

It may seem strange to us that May Day is celebrated as a traditional spring holiday in other parts of the world. It wasn't until late 19th century that May 1 was chosen as the International Workers Day (or Labour Day). This holiday holds a certain appeal in countries where lifelong labour is synonymous with life. The futurists however, are predicting days when Artificial Intelligence will do all the work for us, while we grapple with a lifetime of leisure; Kerala has just contributed to the process by banning the practice of ‘gawking’ charges. Read on…
Curated by: Madhu Kapparath
Published: May 3, 2018
All in a day's work: May Day musings

Image by : Frédéric Soltan/Corbis via Getty Images

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The Kerala government has finally abolished 'Nokkukooli' (gawking charges), a notorious form of extortion by organised labour unions in Kerala. It worked like this: The unions posted a ‘lookout’, who hung around places like the local bus-stands. If he spotted you, he’ll offer to unload your belongings for an exorbitant charge. But if you chose to by yourself or with your own help, he’ll watch until you are done and demand wages for work he didn't do! As a the writer Paul Zacharia commented "That’s a kind of workers' paradise even Marx didn't anticipate!"